Lionel Messi Believes Wayne Rooney is a “Once in a Generation Player”

Image Credit: Shaun Botterill / Getty Images

Lionel Messi has had some very complimentary things to say about Wayne Rooney, with the man widely regarded as the best footballer in the world branding the Manchester United and England striker a “once in a generation player.” 

Speaking after Rooney celebrated scoring his 50th goal for England, making him the national squad’s all-time top goalscorer, the Barcelona star said: “Wayne Rooney is for me a once in a generation player. One of those special players, who is not comparable to any other.

“There are many special players, but Rooney has exceptional quality and technical ability as well as being one of the strongest players I have faced with an exceptional work rate – there is nobody like him.”

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But although Rooney has reached a milestone achievement, he still remains a widely divisive player for England given his sporadic form, with him never having emulated his success with Man U on an international level. However, Messi dismissed claims that Rooney isn’t world class, saying: “Rooney is a winner. He will just be focused on success with England in the European Championship.

“I have always said the same is true of myself and Argentina — breaking caps and goals records mean nothing unless they come with trophies. Like I say, Wayne is a winner. It will always be the team first and personal records second.”

Rooney’s 50th goal for England came during the closing moments of their Euro qualifying match against Switzerland, with the captain converting a penalty. He later addressed his teammates, England staff and fans in a post-match speech held in the changing rooms, which you can watch here.