Guardiola: 'Rooney is one of the best players I have seen in my career'

Wayne Rooney

Bayern’s coach seems to have a lot of respect for United’s striker. How does this influence his strategy for the match on Wednesday?

While United fans are crossing their fingers Wayne Rooney will be fit, Pep Guardiola is already convinced.

In the press conference before the Champions League match on Wednesday against Manchester United he was asked if it would be an advantage for Bayern if Rooney couldn’t play tomorrow. The Spanish coach answered with a big smile and said “Rooney will play. I’m 100 hundred percent sure. I bet with you for a big beer”

A bet he will probably not lose as everybody at Bayern thinks that the rumours about Rooney’s absence for the match are just a distraction. However, he seems not to be too worried, although his respect for the English striker couldn’t be higher. “He is one of the best players I have seen in my career” was Guardiola’s final sentence about this topic.

The Bayern coach has seen many of the best players of the last 20 years in his career like Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Stoichkov, Koeman, et al. Wayne Rooney is doubtless an excellent player and may be even one of the best attackers of the last 10 years, but it was still surprising to hear such a compliment from Guardiola.

The message behind that however is clear. Guardiola shows his highest respect for the opponent and their best player to remind his own team and the media in Munich of the quality that United have. On the other hand he made a relaxed impression during the press conference and even started to joke around with the journalist who had asked him the question. 

After that he started a lecture about the tactics United may play: “The English clubs play very defensive and try to counter-attack. Especially when they play away they only wait for their chance to counter-attack or for a free kick or a corner. We have to play intelligent. When you have the ball, they always back down.”

That’s not exactly Guardiola’s football philosophy but he will have to deal with it in the Allianz Arena. If in the end Rooney will be able to help his team or not, we will know by this evening. In case he scores the decisive goal against Bayern, it would cost Guardiola more than just a big beer, and he may not be in the mood to buy one.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch