TEXT: “When we hear the English or anybody else in the world of football trying to compare Wayne Rooney with Messi, we find it laughable. Rooney is a very good player there is no doubt about that – but to put him on the same level as Messi is wrong. It’s not up for debate, it’s just wrong.”
CONTEXT: The quote attributed to Milito was apparently reported first by Spanish paper Sport but is now being heavily recirculated. It came out before today’s England v Germany and Argentina v Mexico game.
SUBTEXT: You can take this two ways really. Either Milito was fanning the flames for another potential England v Argentina game if both won their second round tilts or that the Argentina squad is so tight and united that even a player of Milito’s quality (he just scored both Inter’s goals in the Champions League final win over Bayern Munich a month ago) who can barely get on the field for Argentina is solidly behind a player like Messi who is, to some degree, keeping him out the starting eleven.
I choose to go with the latter. I think Milito truly believes Messi may end up being considered one of the greatest players to ever play and even though he’s not playing much he’s fully bought into being a part of Maradona’s squad that he just wants to take the opportunity to back his guy in any comparison with a potential opponent.