Rooney hails Messi as best ever after five-star show
Published 21:44 07/03/12 By MirrorFootball
Wayne Rooney has hailed Lionel Messi as "the best ever" as the Barcelona magician hit five past a stunned Bayer Leverkusen.
"Messi is a joke. For me the best ever" tweeted Manchester United and England star Rooney.
It was the first time the Argentine - who completed his eighth hat-trick of the season for club and country - has hit five in a match and the first time one player has scored so many in a single Champions League game.
ITV pundits Graeme Souness, Ruud Gullit and Terry Venables also agreed that Messi was world football's best player of all time - at the age of just 24.
And England legend Gary Lineker added: "He plays a game with which we are not familiar."
Liverpool hero Terry McDermott tweeted: "I played in a great LFC team of the late 70s and early 80s which ruled Europe but I must say I think this Barcelona team would batter us."
The stars' tributes to Messi kept on coming via the micro-blogging site:
Rio Ferdinand: "Messi doesn’t look interested tonight....!!"
Jack Wilshere: "Its a pleasure to watch this guy."
Michael Owen: "Not old enough to see some of the greats but I can’t believe anyone can have played the game of football as well as Messi."
Steven Pienaar: "Barca are out of this world. Messi best player in the world."
Nicklas Bendtner: "Messi is too good to be real."