Wayne Rooney took a swipe at former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho after the latter heaped praises on Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Speaking about the two five-time Ballon d'Or winners, the Manchester United legend claimed that the Portugal great and the Barcelona star would struggle to be such incredible talents if they hadn't been given the freedom to express themselves on the field.
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Rooney also feels that United's previous approach under 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 did 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.
“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 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.
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“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.”
This article was most recently revised and updated 4 years ago