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By Lawrence Donaldson.

The Real Madrid ‘galacticos’ are assembled in the manner of a seven year old collecting stickers of his favourite players to stick on his pencil case. And as this season so far has proved this may make the best pencil case but not a real football team. Now news has emerged from the Spanish cash splashers that they are, rather ominously, ‘obsessed’ with signing our Wayne.  This indication from Madrid highlights a quality that is now being bestowed on the bulldog from Croxteth- he has finally caught the world’s imagination.

Now becks has uttered it, it must be true:

“I think without a doubt he’s one of the best, if not the best, player at the moment along with (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Lionel) Messi.”

As an Englishman and a football fan its near on impossible not to love Wayne Rooney.  He’s direct, strong, agile, skilful, full of power and can read the game so well he’s nearly always two or three pages ahead of defenders. Sometimes it looks as though he’s already reading goblet of fire before the opposition have found out what happened in Azkaban. Yes its easy to reel off a list of football related plaudits when thinking of how to describe Wayne Rooney.

But what exactly is it that has given him the boost from a ‘great player’ to the ‘best player’? is it true?

One attribute he has that many top stars lack is his ability to develop and adapt. Last season he was criticised for being too selfless, his 30 goals this season have put that right. They said he cant header- so he practices and scores five in a row. They said he was hot headed, he now walks away from confrontation. This shows Rooney will keep evolving and growing. Ferguson stated that if he could enhance his predatory instincts ala Solskajer he will be the best. Overall he’s a team player.  Part of a great team. If you watched Lyon-Madrid and UTD-Milan on adjacent screens you would quickly recognise the team.

But this brings me to my final point. Is he the best?

No. Is it Ronaldo then? No. Messi ? nah. In my opinion there is no such thing. Yet it’s an ongoing preoccupation within world football to decide who is the best single player. This week alone Sir Alex has been talking about Rooney as the future best, Berbatov has said he is the best. We have the PFA player of the year, fifa player of the year.  These irrelevant arguments overshadow real achievement.

I do agree that there is a pool of exceptional players, but as Real’s failure to find success shows real football isn’t a sticker collection. Trying to decide who is best may be a fun argument over a few pints but to put so much time into this arbitrary accolade is a waste of time. Great teams should be remembered, teams that win and achieve. Rooney is a hard worker a talisman, yet he’s found his feet because of the system of play at united, because of graft, not because a leprechaun suddenly imbued him with magic football socks, that make him ‘the best’.

To find out who really deserves the plaudits in football we have leagues world cups that are awarded to teams and its great individuals who make an exceptional team not the other way around.

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