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Rooney and Ronaldo were unplayable during their period playing together at Manchester United and despite a brief rift following the 2006 World Cup, remain good friends off the pitch.
Yet despite his links to the Juventus superstar, England's record goalscorer couldn't overlook the brilliance of Messi, which he witnessed in two Champions League defeats to Barcelona.
"Ronaldo wasn't as focused on goals when we started playing together but you could see that all he wanted was to be the best player in the world," Rooney wrote in his Sunday Times column.
"He practised and practised and began to produce. Cristiano has become an incredible scorer and he and Messi are arguably the best two players the game has seen.
"Ronaldo is ruthless in the box, a killer. But Messi will torture you before he kills you. With Messi you just get the impression he is having more fun. Those two have completely changed the game in terms of goalscoring numbers and I don't think they'll ever be matched."
Rooney's comments echo the sentiment of fellow United hero David Beckham, who too opted for six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi.
The former England captain came up against the Argentine ace in 2013 when PSG and Barcelona played out a 1-1 drew and claimed it is "impossible" that there will be another player like Messi.
"He [Messi] is alone in his class as a player, it is impossible that there is another like him," Beckham told Argentine outlet Telam.
"He, like Cristiano Ronaldo, who is not at his level, are both above the rest."
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