BENFICA vs MANCHESTER UNITED
MANCHESTER UNITED manager Sir Alex Ferguson claims Wayne Rooney can be England’s answer to Pele.
Fresh from scoring back-to-back hat-tricks in the Premier League, Rooney will spearhead United’s attack in Lisbon tonight against Benfica, as last year’s runners-up begin their Champions League campaign.
Benfica manager Jorge Jesus’ admitted in his pre-match press conference that United’s No10 would shape his plans.
“Rooney is the best British player but doesn’t seem like a British player,” Jesus said. “He’s like an Argentinian or Brazilian. He can decide the match and so we have to pay special attention to him.”
That prompted Ferguson to query Jesus, although not Rooney’s potential to be remembered among the greats.
“I think he’s a typical British player,” said the United manager, who left Rio Ferdinand behind as a precaution ahead of Sunday’s visit of Chelsea.
“There have been British players over the last few years, maybe for the last decades, who have similar great qualities that make them great players, whether it’s a [Paul] Gascoigne, George Best, Bobby Charlton, Denis Law.
“The similarities are that the boy has great courage, wants to play all the time and has incredible stamina. In terms of a Brazilian, you’d say Pele.
“He was an aggressive attacker also who could look after himself, so can Rooney. They have similarities that way: strength, speed, determination, but he’s white, completely white.”