The Manchester United icon has stated that Rooney could have achieved the same level of greatness as Ronaldo if there was not one key difference.
Nemanja Vidic pointed out the factor that enabled Cristiano Ronaldo to attain such heights while acknowledging that Wayne Rooney could not achieve a comparable level, to him.
The former Manchester United center-back appeared on the Vibe with Five podcasts as a guest of his ex-defensive partner Rio Ferdinand.
During his nine seasons at United, Vidic played alongside some of the best players in the league during that period.
Teams that included Ryan Giggs, Patrice Evra, and Ferdinand himself were crucial in winning five Premier League titles during Vidic’s tenure at the club.
Vidic praises Ronaldo’s elite mentality
And Vidic joined Ferdinand for the Englishman’sVibe with Fivepodcast, with the pair covering a whole range of topics.
That included a discussion about the best players in the league during that time. But when asked who was one player that stood out, Vidic only had one man in mind.
“I think the whole package for me is Cristiano Ronaldo,” Vidic said. “Because I remember when I came to the club, how he looked as a boy, he was skinny, he was someone who was always trying to do the skills and tricks.
“And how he developed over the years, how he trained, how he was willing to sacrifice everything to achieve his dreams. I think that’s an example for the young generations.
“You see Cristiano on Instagram, it’s all flashy stuff but he deserves it. At his age, 18, 19, to 21 to have that mentality to work hard, not go out, fight for your dream, the way he did it he deserves everything he got.”
Vidic believes Rooney could have been just as good as Ronaldo
However, Vidic maintained that Rooney could have matched Ronaldo’s success if he had trained as hard as the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who was his teammate.
Ronaldo and Rooney played together for five seasons at Manchester United, winning three league titles under the leadership of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Despite retiring as United’s all-time leading scorer, Vidic thinks that Rooney could have accomplished even more if he had the same mindset as Ronaldo.
“For me, Wayne Rooney, he failed in terms of that. He is the one I think, if he was closer in mentality as Cristiano Ronaldo he can achieve much more. Definitely, that is my feeling.
“Physically he was amazing, technically as well. He is a great teammate on the pitch, him and Carlos Tevez, as a defender you want them on the pitch, they worked hard for the team.”
Video: Vidic explains the key difference between Ronaldo and Rooney
Vidic on difference between Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney pic.twitter.com/jj0dpwFhuV
— ⚖️🇶🇦 (@WholeLottaEM) April 26, 2023
Upon being asked if Rooney had more technical ability than his Portuguese teammate, Vidic said: “In one moment they are similar, the same.
“What brought Cristiano Ronaldo much higher was his mentality to change, to work hard, to improve, to have goals.
“I’m not saying Wayne didn’t have a mentality, but he played pure on his talent. He didn’t invest in his body, invest in extra training, the physical side.”
“Wayne was naturally a man at 14, 15 years old,” Ferdinand added. “So he didn’t have to work for it.
“Like you said, Cristiano walked through the door a skinny guy. He left with an eight-pack.”