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England news

Milito laughs off Rooney comparisons

June 27, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Argentina's Diego Milito has hit out at Wayne Rooney, claiming it is "laughable" to suggest he is on a par with FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi.

Diego Milito
GettyImagesDiego Milito usually starts on the bench for Argentina.

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Milito, who struggles to get into the Argentina team despite winning the Champions League with Inter Milan last season, has revealed that if they face England in the quarter-finals in Cape Town on July 3, they will not consider man-marking the England forward.

"When we hear the English or anybody else in the world of football trying to compare Wayne Rooney with Messi, we find it laughable" Milito told the Daily Star Sunday. "Rooney is a very good player there is no doubt about that - but to put him on the same level as Messi is wrong. It's not up for debate, it's just wrong.

"We are looking at a player in Messi who, when he retires, may very well be the best player to have graced the game. How can he be compared to anybody currently playing, let alone a player who has never ever won World Player of the Year?

"While I don't agree with it, I can understand Messi being compared to Kaka and Ronaldo, but Rooney? No, no, no."

And the Inter forward added: "Like I said, I think Rooney is a very good player, maybe even a top 20 player in the world - but that doesn't make him Messi, it doesn't even make him close to Messi. It's a long way off but if we do draw England in the quarter-finals, Rooney will be a player we show respect to.

"But Messi is marked by five or six players at a time and I don't see us doing that to Rooney.

"Messi has told us that he doesn't want to be considered a legend until he has won a World Cup - but like it or not, the boy is already a legend."

Messi himself was a little more diplomatic in his comments about Rooney, saying that the Englishman just needs to relax in order to end his goal drought.

"Rooney should approach the game as if it were a pre-season friendly with Manchester United," said the Barcelona star. "It might sound crazy but players like Rooney play at their best when they are not thinking.

"Top stars play at their peak when what they do is natural and instinctive. People have written that I can't play as well for Argentina as I can for Barcelona, so I know what pressure there is."