Manchester United talisman Wayne Rooney has spoken of his admiration for Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez, saying they are the best two players in the world at present, placing them both ahead of Barcelona's Lionel Messi.
Elliott Bretland of the Mail Online reports that the England striker took part in a Facebook Q&A with Samsung on Wednesday, and heaped praise on his former teammate Ronaldo and Liverpool's double Player of the Year Suarez.
Bretland says that when asked about who is the best player on the planet, Rooney replied: "Cristiano Ronaldo and probably Luis Suarez a close second."
Rooney also added that Ronaldo is the best player he has ever played with, alongside United legend Paul Scholes:
The best player I've ever played with is between two: Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Scholes. Scholesy controlled the game and passed the ball around but in terms of winning games—Cristiano Ronaldo.
Rooney's opinion differs slightly from the typical response regarding the world's best players—Ronaldo and Messi—and is testament to Suarez's form in 2013-14.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard backed up Rooney's words with some glowing praise of his own. Dave Maddock of the Mirror quotes the Anfield captain as saying that Suarez is the best player he has ever played with and that Liverpool are lucky to have such a world-class player at their disposal:
I have played with some top players over the years at this club—world-class players—but for me, this player is in a league of his own. There is some disappointment looming around, but if this fella stays around for a few more years I think there will be some really big nights. We are lucky to have such a world-class talent like Luis playing here with us, and helping us to great things and be successful.
The Uruguay striker has been in stunning form this year, firing his club toward the top of the Premier League. He has scored a magnificent 31 goals in 32 league games, per Squawka, and has been head and shoulders above any other forward operating in England this season.
Messi has had an average season by his standards, matching that of his club. However, his record by normal standards this year is still outstanding.
He has still managed to score an incredible 36 goals in 36 games across Barca's La Liga and Champions League campaigns, per WhoScored.com, suggesting that his personal performance is still well above that of Europe's elite players.
His tally is on par with Ronaldo's, who has managed to find the net on 31 occasions during the Spanish league season in his 30 appearances, per Squawka.
The rise in Suarez's stock has been dramatic following the disciplinary issues of the past few years, and for a player of Rooney's standing to consider him to be up there with Ronaldo and Messi is an impressive feat.
If the Uruguayan can prove his worth on the continent—maybe even as a Galactico at Real—he could reach new levels of fame. The opportunity to compete for Europe's biggest prizes every year would surely be something he would relish, especially as he is now in his prime at 27 years old.
To hit the heights of Ronaldo and Messi, Suarez's challenge is now to emulate their consistency at both European and domestic level.