The part played by Cristiano Ronaldo in Wayne Rooney’s sending off during last summer’s World Cup quarter-final will perhaps never be forgotten by those with the good of English football at heart.

Rooney, though, has clearly allowed himself to forgive.

Not only are the two young players increasingly close team-mates and friends in Sir Alex Ferguson’s rampaging squad, but Rooney is also happy to concede that Ronaldo has recently outstripped him on the field to the extent that he now believes him to be the best player in the world.

“Yeah, he’s been brilliant, especially after all he had to cope with on coming back from the World Cup,” said Rooney this week.

“It was very difficult for him, with all the media attention. But he’s come through that and he’s been absolutely fantastic this season.

“Hopefully that will continue, and he’ll hopefully help us bring back some silverware this season.

“Is there rivalry between us? No, no, not at all.

“I’m just delighted that he’s playing for us because at this moment in time he is the best player in the world – not just the best young player, but the best player full stop.

“There’s certainly no jealousy on my part over that. You want to play with the best players, and it’s great to be in the same team as Cristiano.”

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