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10th Sep 2015

Lionel Messi has praised England all-time top goalscorer Wayne Rooney

This is a huge tribute coming from Messi...

Ben Kenyon

Lionel Messi has no equal in world football.

The Argentine is one of those rare players that so seldom comes along that you have to savour every second of genius in their ephemeral career.

But the world-beating Barcelona star has put another one of his contemporaries in that very same bracket.

He believes Wayne Rooney is one of the greatest players of his generation – and one of the strongest players he has ever faced.

This is high praise indeed for the Manchester United man from a star who won the Ballon D’Or three years running.

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League

Messi 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.”

After scoring his 50th goal for England to become the country’s all-time top goalscorer, Messi rubbished claims Rooney did not fit into the ‘world class’ bracket.

Messi also dismissed claims that the Manchester United striker is top class but not world class.

The Argentina forward, 28, added: “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.”