MANCHESTER UNITED captain Wayne Rooney was once as a good as Cristiano Ronaldo, according to West Brom ace Darren Fletcher.
Fletcher played alongside both Rooney and Ronaldo during his time at Manchester United.
Despite jumping ship to Real Madrid in 2009, Ronaldo is widely regarded as a club legend.
The Portugal star netted 42 goals as United won the Premier League and Champions League in 2008.
Rooney, meanwhile, continues to divide fans despite moving level with club-record scorer Sir Bobby Charlton on 249 goals last weekend.
However, Fletcher believes the England captain was once on a par with Ronaldo – and only his selflessness stops him from mentioned in the same breath as the Madrid star.
“Everybody wants recognition. You always think you should have more,” Fletcher told The Daily Mail.
“But he’s broken records, captained United and England, won everything. He’s up there with the best, every bit as influential as Ronaldo in his day.
“Those two went toe to toe one year but, after that, to allow Ronaldo to go forwards, Wayne fell back and was a team player and that was what they needed.
“People with good football intelligence will realise that. Others may not.”
There can be no denying that Rooney’s influence has waned in recent seasons.
But during his pomp the former Everton ace was some player, netting 34 goals in both the 2009/2010 and 2011/2012 seasons.
He can overtake Charlton by scoring a 250th goal if he is selected as part of Jose Mourinho’s side to face Liverpool on Sunday (4pm).