Despite being good friends with former Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney has picked Lionel Messi over the Portuguese as the better player of the two.

Rooney, who struck a great partnership with Ronaldo on the pitch, has explained that the latter was “not focused” on goals and all he wanted was to be the best in the world.

“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. He practiced and practiced and began to produce."

“Cristiano has become an incredible scorer and he and Messi are arguably the best two players the game has seen. But despite my friendship with Cristiano, I’d go for Messi. It’s for the same reason I loved watching Xavi and Scholes: it’s the different things in Messi’s game. I’ve talked about composure and I can’t remember seeing Messi score when he has hit the ball as hard as he could. He just rolls them in, makes it so easy,” explained Rooney in his latest column in the Sunday Times.

“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,” the current player-coach of Derby County further added.

The former Red Devils skipper, who is still the highest scorer for England national team and Man Utd, even mentioned that he was not a natural goalscorer and should have scored more goals for his club and country.

“I hold the goal records for Manchester United and England and I'm very proud of that - yet there have been better number nines than me. How did I become a record-breaker if I wasn't a natural scorer? Time."

"I played for United for 13 years, England for 15 years. I had time to break those records - and looking back I should have scored more,” added Rooney in the column.

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo
After coming second to Cristiano Ronaldo for the past two years, Lionel Messi got his hands on another FIFA Ballon d'Or on Monday. Getty Images

While he believes his England record could be broken by the likes of Harry Kane in the near future, his Man Utd record might “last longer” unless “Messi or Ronaldo came to Old Trafford for a swansong.”

“The United record might last longer simply because players don't stay at clubs as long as they used to. Mind you, if Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo came to Old Trafford for a swansong they would probably break it in three or four years,” added Rooney.