Wayne Rooney says Lionel Messi could storm to a seventh Ballon d’Or crown if he formed a potent partnership with Bruno Fernandes at Manchester United.
Messi is facing the greatest period of uncertainty in his career, having told Barcelona he wants to leave.
The Argentine informed the club via fax on Tuesday after a turbulent season both on and off the pitch. Reports suggest, however, that new head coach Ronald Koeman tipped his decision.
As for where Messi’s future lies, Manchester City are keen on signing the 33-year-old. Pep Guardiola has reportedly contacted the forward and his club have tried for the past week to work out the finances of a deal.
Reports have also loosely linked United with a move, something Rooney would like to see. The former Red Devil says Fernandes would undoubtedly help Messi to thrive in the English top flight.
“The United States shouldn’t be in his mind because he’s too good,” Rooney told talkSPORT.
“He could come to the Premier League and be a Player of the Year. One million per cent. If he surrounds himself with Bruno Fernandes or Kevin De Bruyne, he could win a seventh Ballon d’Or.”
Fernandes, who arrived at Old Trafford in January, inspired United’s late charge into the top four last season.
The Portuguese scored eight Premier League goals and assisted seven others in 14 appearances, creating an abundance of chances for Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
MESSI SIGNING AN UNPRECEDENTED MOVE
Rooney also reiterated that whoever signs Messi will be pulling off an unprecedented piece of business.
“I know he’s getting older but he’s a player who no-one has seen before,” the Derby player-coach said.
“Messi has everything – he can create goals, score goals, dictate the game and is the best player of all time.
“He’s one of the only players I’ve sat there and watched and been in awe.
“Him and Cristiano Ronaldo have set a standard which I don’t think we will ever be seen again but, for me, Messi is just different level.”
In any case, a report from The Times claims any club keen on Messi will have to pay £90million alone to match his wages.