Wayne Rooney has singled out Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes as one of the Premier League’s stars that could help Lionel Messi reach a seventh Ballon d’Or win after the Barcelona icon handed in a transfer request earlier this week.
The Argentine has expressed his desire to leave the club and wants to exercise a clause in his contract that would allow him to depart for free.
Barca, however, maintain those terms that would allow a free transfer expired on June 10 and he is contracted until 2021 with a £700 million buy-out clause.
The news has caused multiple big clubs to circle for the footballing icon, who has won 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies in almost two decades at Camp Nou.
Manchester City are one of the names heavily linked with a swoop for Messi, given the connection to his previous boss Pep Guardiola, while the 33-year-old’s representatives reportedly approached United about a possible switch to Old Trafford.
Despite a move to the Red Devils looking unlikely due to his astronomical wages, United legend Rooney singled out Fernandes, as well as City’s Kevin de Bruyne, as the type of players that could help Messi add to his Ballon d’Or collection.
‘I know he’s getting older but he’s a player who no one has seen before,’ the Derby County player-coach told talkSPORT.
‘Messi has everything – he can create goals, score goals, dictate the game and is the best player of all time.
‘He’s one of the only players I’ve sat there and watched and been in awe.
‘Him and Cristiano Ronaldo have set a standard we won’t ever see again and are a different level.’
‘He could come to the Premier League and be a Player of the Year. One million per cent.
‘If he surrounds himself with Kevin De Bruyne, with Bruno Fernandes, these types of players, he could win a seventh Ballon d’Or.’