Rooney is ‘once in a generation talent’: Messi

Arlington (Texas), Sep 10 (IANS) Argentine football icon Lionel Messi has heaped praise on England striker Wayne Rooney, describing him as a “once in a generation player” and a unique talent after the Manchester United star became the country’s leading scorer.

The United and England captain moved to 50 goals for his country in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Switzerland in their European Championship qualifier at Wembley, overtaking the legendary Bobby Charlton.

“Wayne Rooney is for me a once in a generation player. One of those special players, who is not comparable to any other,” Messi was quoted as saying by the Mirror on Wednesday.

“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,” the Barcelona captain added.

The Argentina forward praised Rooney further saying,”He is a winner. He will just be focused on success with England in the European Championship.”

The 28-year-old Argentine said that like Rooney, he also gives first priority to his team’s interests and personal records are secondary for him.

“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,” Messi said.

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