Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney took a dig at former manager of Red Devils Jose Mourinho after the latter heaped praises on Portugal great Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
Speaking about the two five-time Ballon d’Or winners, Rooney claimed that Ronaldo and Messi would struggle to be such incredible talents if they hadn’t been given the freedom to express themselves on the field.
Rooney even went on to say that the duo have become such amazing players partly because they are not restricted by stern instructions from their managers.
Rooney was talking about the new found freedom at the Old Trafford following the sacking of Mourinho from the club as manager.
After the 55-year-old’s sacking, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer joined United Man Utd as caretaker manager.
Since Solskjaer joined United, the Red Devils have been unbeaten in the Premier League. Rooney also feels that United’s previous approach under Jose Mourinho limited their style of play.
“I think it wasn’t nice watching Manchester United over the last year and knowing the players weren’t happy,” Rooney said ESPN.
“They weren’t enjoying it and I think all he (Solskjaer) done is say ‘go and play, go and express yourselves, and enjoy it.’ I think if you take Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and tell them you have to play here, you have to do this, you have to that, they aren’t going to be the same players,” Rooney added.
Rooney further said, “When you are playing at Manchester United you are good enough to know how to play the game and to know what you have to do on the pitch. You need small details of course, but the biggest thing the players need is to just go play and to go enjoy yourself.”
Earlier, Mourinho heaped praises on both footballing greats – Ronaldo and Messi, without calling either of them superior.
“I think it is unfair to both of them when someone says one is better than the other one,” Mourinho told beIN SPORTS. “I think they are just different.”
“The only thing that I can say is that when I had Ronaldo on my side I was a very happy man,” he said, before adding, “And when I had to play against Messi I had to think a lot to try and help my team to have chances to succeed.”
The 55-year-old also heaped praises on Ronaldo and Messi for staying at the top for so many years.
“The thing to admire is the number of years that they have stayed at the top. To win once, it can happen. To win and win and win and win and win is much more difficult. As a player, you can appear like a hurricane and then disappear,” Mourinho insisted before adding, “These two guys have been there for ten years and everything is about them until the moment they decide enough is enough and other people can raise the bar.”