Rooney: Barcelona back to their brilliant best

Rooney: Barcelona back to their brilliant best
The Manchester United ace has hailed Luis Enrique's men as a "fantastic" team, arguing they're on the same level as Pep Guardiola's all-conquering outfit
Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney believes that the current Barcelona side are as good as anything to have come out of Catalunya during the last decade.
The Blaugrana had been crowned champions of Europe on just one previous occasion, in 1992, before beating Arsenal in the Champions League final in 2006.
Pep Guardiola replaced Frank Rijkaard at the helm two years later, heralding an unprecedented era of success at Camp Nou, with the then-rookie Catalan coach leading Barca to two European titles in his four seasons in charge.
Guardiola's side have been lauded as one of the finest the game has ever seen but Rooney feels that the team that won the treble last season, under new boss Luis Enrique, are just as good.
"Barcelona are a fantastic team," the Manchester United striker told ESPN. "After Real Madrid winning the Champions League [in 2014], [Barca] wouldn't have liked that and they've come out again and been incredible really.
"I believe they've probably been as good as they ever have been over the last 10 years.
"It's a different way of playing [under Luis Enrique]. They're defending a little bit deeper and not going and closing down teams the way they did and they're hurting teams on the counter-attack.
"You can see there's a change in the way they play but, with the players they have got, obviously [Lionel] Messi, Neymar and [Luis] Suarez, they are a massive threat to anyone."
Rooney, of course, is only too familiar with Barca's brilliance, having been part of the United sides beaten by the Blaugrana in the Champions League finals of 2009 and 2011.
"You're so close to winning it and to lose twice to Barcelona is hard to take really.
"I think you sometimes have to hold your hands up and say they were the better team - the best team in Europe - and it was going to be difficult for us to win the game.
"I'd say probably the game at Wembley [in 2011], being there, it would have been nice to have won the Champions League there."

Manchester United take on Barcelona in California in a friendly clash on Saturday at 22:00CET.


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