Cristiano Ronaldo Hopeful of Reuniting with 'Pit Bull' Wayne Rooney

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo, right, of England's Manchester United, hugs his teammate Wayne Rooney at the awarding ceremony after they defeated Ecuador's Liga Deportiva Universitaria Quito in the FIFA Club World Cup soccer tournament in Yokohama, Japan, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008. Manchester United won the final 1-0. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
David Guttenfelder/Associated Press

Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed his admiration for former Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney and hinted he'd be happy to play with him again in the future.

The pair have not played together since Ronaldo left United for Real Madrid in 2009, but it's clear he still holds a great deal of affection for the Englishman, who now plays for MLS side D.C. United.

Ronaldo told Goalhanger films (h/t the Mirror's Andrew Gilpin):

"For me the power of Wayne Rooney is his mentality and strength. He never stops, he always runs, helps the team. He's a fantastic team player and he scores goals. He scored important goals, for me he's fantastic.

"He was the kid of England. Everyone loved him. He is a fantastic boy, fantastic player.

"I used to call him, between me and my mates, the pit bull. I remember when he lost the ball he was so powerful, a strong guy, he shoots unbelievable.

"He scored many goals, what can I say? I miss playing with him. The future nobody knows. Maybe we'll play one day together again."

The pair played together at Old Trafford for five years and formed a potent partnership along the way. During their time together, Ronaldo scored 112 goals, while Rooney netted 97.

Their efforts were key to the Red Devils winning three Premier League titles, the UEFAChampions League and three League Cups in that period, among other honours.

Football writer Jordan Clarke misses those days:

Jordan Clarke @FourFourJordan

Forever regretful I didn’t appreciate the days of Rooney & Ronaldo enough.

Indeed, United's current struggles in the final third mark a far cry from Rooney and Ronaldo terrorising defences on a weekly basis, as ESPN's Mark Ogden noted:

Mark Ogden @MarkOgden_

Last time @ManUtd won the Champions League, they had Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez up-front. Lots of issues to address, but compare that three to the current strike-force and it’s one reason why they are currently nowhere near a CL winning team.

Rooney was an ideal partner for the Portugal hitman, thanks to his tireless work ethic and willingness to selflessly sacrifice himself in order to give Ronaldo a platform on which to shine.

Ronaldo then joined Real in 2009 and scored 450 goals in nine years, winning two La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues. Meanwhile, Rooney went on to become United's all-time top scorer and won two more Premier League titles, another League Cup, the FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League.

Their careers have taken significantly different trajectories of late, though, per Bleacher Report's Sam Pilger:

Sam Pilger @sampilger

Cristiano Ronaldo is 33 and has just signed for Juventus for €100 million after scoring 4 goals in the World Cup. Wayne Rooney is 32 and has just made his debut for D.C. United after a free transfer...

Despite his age, Ronaldo has remained at the top of the game while Rooney has noticeably declined in recent years.

The latter rejoined boyhood club Everton in 2017, but he stayed for just a year before moving to MLS.

Rooney has enjoyed a stateside revival, though. He contributed 12 goals and seven assists in 20 games to transform the fortunes of D.C. Unitedwho were lingering near the bottom of the Eastern Conference when he arrivedto take them to the play-offs, though they subsequently lost in the first round to the Columbus Crew.

Rooney's time in Europe seems to be over, but if Ronaldo were to make a move to MLS late in his career, the pair might be able to recapture some of their old magic.