Former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore believes that Wayne Rooney deserves to be placed in the same category as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Rooney made history last weekend with a goal against Stoke City that cemented his status as Manchester United’s all-time top-goalscorer, usurping Sir Bobby Charlton’s 43-year long record of 249 goals.
The 31-year-old’s goal also ensured that Man United, in spite of what was a disappointing performance, maintained their unbeaten record ahead of their game against Hull City on Thursday.
And Collymore, writing in a column for the Daily Mirror, insisted that Rooney was in the same bracket as Ronaldo and Messi.
“If you take out the big two, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, he has had as good a career as anybody in the world over the last decade,” he said.
“You don’t break Sir Bobby Charlton’s England or Manchester United’s goal records without being something very special.
“So huge congratulations to Wayne Rooney for achieving both, for a fantastic career that has seen him win virtually every trophy.”
Firstly, and no messing around here, even the staunchest Rooney supporter would concede that, in terms of ability, Rooney doesn’t come close to either Ronaldo or Messi – two players that will, for as long as they play, glisten in the international spotlight, displaying the same levels of otherworldly brilliance each week, without suffering any injuries or set-backs. History will remember the duo as perhaps the most iconic figures of the 21st century – unless, of course, Marcus Rashford ends up dwarfing them both, which is something I won’t ever rule out.
But in terms of legacy and sheer prestige, Rooney will indeed be remembered as a pre-eminent force within the realms of the English game – the striker who, aged just 18, moved to Man United, scored a hat-trick on his debut and became the club’s – and England’s – all time top goalscorer. Not Ronaldo-esque, not Messi-esque, but still very much the stuff of dreams.