Lionel Messi hails 'once in a generation' Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney has received the greatest tribute of them all in a week when he became England's all-time record goal scorer after Lionel Messi hailed the striker as a "once in a generation" superstar.
Rooney broke Bobby Charlton's England national team scoring record that has stood since 1970 as he scored his 50th international goal against Switzerland on Tuesday night, sparking a wave of tributes to the Manchester United striker.
Now Barcelona great Messi has joined the chorus of praise for Rooney, with his praise for the United skipper more fulsome than you might expect.
“Wayne Rooney is for me a once in a generation player. One of those special players, who is not comparable to any other," says Messi, in quotes appearing in the Daily Mirror.
“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.
"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 status as an England great has been questioned by some of his critics this week despite his record breaking efforts, but these words from Messi confirm that the United star is admired by one of the greatest players of the modern era.