Wayne Rooney admits 'I get stick' for stance on Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate

Wayne Rooney gave his thoughts to Gary Neville (Image: YouTube/The Overlap)

Wayne Rooney has doubled down on his view that Lionel Messi is better than Cristiano Ronaldo. Debate has raged on for years over which of the two is football’s greatest-ever player.

Despite sharing a dressing room with Ronaldo at Manchester United, new Plymouth manager Rooney has consistently shown favouritism towards his rival. They played together for five seasons but their once close bond has cooled in recent years.

Rooney remains steadfast in his opinion, even in the face of criticism. When questioned on it by Gary Neville on The Overlap, he declared: “I think Messi, I think he’s just the best ever.

“I get a lot of stick for saying Messi where it’s as if, ‘How can you say Messi, it’s Ronaldo.’ I understand that people can say Messi, people can say Ronaldo.

“They are both incredible, probably the best two players to ever play the game. For me, Messi has just got that little bit more extra flair, which I like in a player, so that’s the reason.”

Rooney went on to make a light-hearted quip about Ronaldo when he was asked to choose a penalty taker with his life on the line, reports the Mirror. “Me,” he answered, before joking: “If it wasn’t me – I was gonna say Ronaldo but he’d probably miss now on purpose! If it wasn’t me I’d go [Ruud] van Nistelrooy.”

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Rooney favours Lionel Messi over former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo (Image: Getty Images)

Ronaldo’s displeasure was palpable after Rooney suggested he was an “unwanted distraction” during his tumultuous second spell at United, which saw him acrimoniously exit following a feud with Erik ten Hag.

In his 2022 bombshell interview with Piers Morgan, he made jibes about his old colleague’s career and appearance, stating: “I don’t understand people like that, maybe they want to be front page of the news or they want jobs.

“Probably [it’s jealously], because he finished his career in his 30s. I’m still playing at a high level, I’m not going to say that I’m looking better than him, which is true. It’s hard to listen to that kind of criticism and negativity from people who played with you, for example Gary Neville as well.

Man Utd struggled to cope with Messi on countless occasions (Image: Getty)

“They are not my friends, they are colleagues. We played together but we’re not having dinner together. It’s part of my journey, they keep criticising me with negativity every time.

“I can continue my trip and I have to catch up with people who like me. It’s easy to criticise, I don’t know if they have a job in television that they must criticise to be more famous. I really don’t understand it.”

Rooney’s praise of Messi dates back as far as 2012 when he described him as “the best ever” on Twitter. After the 2022 World Cup final, he re-shared the post with the caption: “Nothing has changed.”

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1904378/wayne-rooney-cristiano-ronaldo-lionel-messi