Messi fearful of Rooney
Lionel Messi has praised Wayne Rooney by suggesting the England striker frightens all his opponents.
Last Updated: 05/06/10 4:27pm
Lionel Messi has lavished praise on Wayne Rooney by suggesting the England striker frightens all his opponents.
Messi has earned plaudits for his own performances over the past 12 months and will hope to inspire Argentina to glory at the World Cup this summer.
But he believes England have a number of dangerous players in their ranks such as Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.
Messi has been particularly impressed by Rooney and thinks he will continue to go from strength to strength over the coming years.
"I think Wayne is a great, great player, not just for what he did this year," the Barcelona superstar told The Sun.
"For many years now he's been showing that he's one of the greatest players of his generation and year by year he's improving and becoming stronger.
"He's the complete player. Very good with the ball at his feet, he has huge strength and scores goals.
"I think he makes his rivals fear him. In the Premier League and in the Champions League with Manchester United and also with England.
"Any defender that comes up against Rooney has a lot of respect for him because of everything he has achieved.
"Gerrard and Lampard are great players also for England. Apart from playing well they also know when to get in the box and they score a lot of goals. They are two of the best around."
Messi is the current World Player of the Year and favourite to retain the title, but he believes Rooney may grab the prestigious honour if England win the World Cup.
"It could be that whoever of us two wins the competition will become the World Player of the Year," he said.
"In a tournament of this magnitude any player can gain a lot of points. I think of Fabio Cannavaro who won the World Cup with Italy and then won every individual award.
"So I think if one of us wins the World Cup, he will have an even bigger chance."
Messi is desperate for success on the international stage after enjoying a stunning couple of years at club level.
"I am confident and convinced that I will repeat my performances for Barca for my country during the World Cup," he said.
"My dream is to lead Argentina to glory in South Africa. I hope we will do well and, as an individual, to be able to play as I do for my club Barcelona and become a champion.
"We will try and do everything we can to achieve that.
"It's something very special to know that you're representing your country and the whole of Argentina is watching you and supporting you. It's a beautiful responsibility.
"We have the best fans in the world. Without doubt when it comes to geeing up the team and psyching us up there is no other set of fans to match ours. So we will do our best for them."