Lionel Messi backs Wayne Rooney to star in La Liga; says Man United striker is among the best technicians in Europe

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Speaking to British magazine Shortlist, Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has showered Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney with some immense praise.

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The England international didn’t enjoy a particularly successful season, managing only 12 goals in 33 league appearances as the Red Devils endured a mixed campaign.

The forward started 14 of his 33 league starts in the centre of midfield, with a further four coming as an attacking midfielder and one on the left. In all, the former Everton striker only started 14 matches as a striker.

One player who has been impressed with Rooney’s campaign and his qualities is Lionel Messi.

The Argentine forward has praised the Huyton-born star in an interview with Shortlist [via Le 10 Sport], when asked which English players could shine in La Liga.

“If you look at the technical capacity of a player like Wayne Rooney, it is as good as any other player in Europe,” Messi began.

“Which English players could blossom in La Liga?” he continued, “As I mentioned, Rooney is exceptional.

“He doesn’t only have a great technical capacity, but he also works very hard for his team.”

Messi also touched on recent rumours linking Rooney with a move to Barcelona.

“I’m not sure Manchester United would let him go,” Messi concluded.

At the beginning of May, Sport [via the Mirror] claimed that Barcelona were considering a move for Rooney, alongside United teammates Ander Herrera and Juan Mata, as well as Manchester City playmaker David Silva.

However, it rarely appeared to be realistic proposition, with Louis van Gaal looking unlikely to lose one of the Red Devils’ key stars.

According to Sport [via the Independent], while the United captain is believed to be keen for a new challenge away from Old Trafford, Barcelona are unsure of recruiting the player, partly due to the likely transfer fee demanded by the Red Devils.

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