Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has been likened to former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentine rival Lionel Messi by former Bayern Munich and Real Madrid star Paul Breitner.

Having been in top form over the last few weeks, Rooney has looked every bit the teenager who burst onto the scene 13 years ago by scoring a wonderful goal against Arsenal. Interestingly, Rooney has been a divisive player over the last five years and has a love hate relationship with the United fans.

In fact, that love hate relationship actually extends to general English football fans who tend to be overly critical of the 29 year-old.

Having been played out of position for most of the season, Rooney has still managed scoring 13 goals in 29 appearances for United this year. Moreover, he has also score six for England in the 2018 Euro qualifiers.

Over the last few matches, the striker has been started in his favourite position and has repaid United manager Louis Van Gaala s faith by scoring five goals in six outings. As the club prepare to take on fierce rivals Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday, Rooney will most definitely be central to anything United do, going forward.

“You have so many outstanding players in your team and in your squad but, of course, if you talk right now about the players of Manchester United then, in Europe and in world football, the number one is Wayne Rooney,” he told ManUtd.com.

“If you have a player at the level of [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Lionel] Messi or [Franck] Ribery for instance, you are always thinking of him, Wayne Rooney, [as well] because he is for many, many football fans and hundreds of millions of people, he is Manchester United.

“He is apart from the other great players you have. He is a man who embodies all the history of the club.”

United are in the middle of a battle for fourth place in the Premier League at the moment. They are just one point behind Arsenal in third place, while ahead of Liverpool by just two points.

After they play Liverpool, Van Gaala s side will battle Aston Villa at home, before welcoming city rivals Manchester City. Following Citya s visit, United travel to London where they take on a would be championsa – Chelsea.