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Wayne Rooney explains why he is on Lionel Messi’s side vs Cristiano Ronaldo

Rooney strongly aligns himself with Messi in the debate over the greatest of all time, even though he once shared the locker room with Ronaldo.

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Rooney has once more expressed his preference for Lionel Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo in the perennial debate over who is the greatest footballer of all time.

Despite having played alongside Ronaldo at Manchester United, Rooney has consistently voiced his support for Messi as the ultimate GOAT in football.

Rooney has been a part of the Messi camp for a long time, stating as early as 2012 through a tweet: “Messi is a joke. For me the best ever.”

This stance was reiterated over a decade later when Rooney, reflecting on Messi’s performance leading Argentina to the World Cup final in Qatar 2022 and their subsequent victory, reaffirmed, “Nothing has changed.”

Rooney has always made it clear that his preference for Messi does not detract from his immense respect for Ronaldo, recognizing that Messi’s unique style sets him apart. He openly admitted to struggling to match Messi on the field during their encounters.

Adding more perspective to his view, Rooney highlighted Messi’s less self-centered play compared to Ronaldo, who is intensely focused on scoring goals. Rooney acknowledges Ronaldo’s scoring prowess, as evidenced by his 868 career goals.

This discussion was reignited following comments from former Chelsea and Real Madrid standout Eden Hazard, who regarded himself as a superior ‘pure footballer’ compared to Ronaldo. Hazard’s comments are notable given his retirement at 33, while Ronaldo continues to compete at a high level at 39, now playing in the Saudi Pro League.

Rooney was asked about Hazard’s comments and his comments about being a better ‘pure footballer’ – and couldn’t help but bring up the Messi vs Ronaldo debate again.

“So for instance, Cristiano Ronaldo, his mindset is goals,” Rooney said in an interview with YouTubers Lyes Bouzidi and CultureCams.

“He doesn’t care about anything else, it’s goals, that’s all he wants.

“Whereas you look at Messi, he wants to play a bit more. I suppose that’s what Hazard is saying, he liked to play – exactly like myself.

“I saw something that Gary Neville said recently, that Alex Ferguson always used to have a go at me for coming too deep, but it was because I wanted to play football.  And I could have been a bit more selfish and stayed up top, and maybe scored a few more goals, but I wanted to play.

“I wanted to enjoy the game and I imagine that’s what Hazard means.”

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