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Page last updated at 23:26 GMT, Saturday, 13 February 2010

Wayne Rooney as good as Ronaldinho says David Beckham

David Beckham (left) and Wayne Rooney (right)
Beckham (left) and Rooney (right) are England team-mates

AC Milan midfielder David Beckham believes Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is now as good as two-time world player of the year Ronaldinho.

Beckham and team-mate Ronaldinho will face Rooney when United travel to Milan for Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first-leg match.

Asked if England team-mate Rooney was comparable to the Brazilian, Beckham said: "Without a doubt.

"I've always said Wayne is one of the best goalscorers in football."

Rooney has scored 23 goals in 32 appearances for United this season as the club seek to retain their Premier League crown as well as progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

The 24-year-old has shouldered much of the goalscoring responsibility following world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo's £80m departure to Real Madrid in the summer.

It's one of the biggest games for me personally

David Beckham

And Beckham insists Rooney is on a par with Ronaldinho, who twice won the Spanish league with Barcelona and the World Cup with Brazil in 2002.

"He is at a great club like Manchester United and he's doing what he does best - scoring goals," said the 34-year-old, who is on loan at Milan from LA Galaxy.

The match at the San Siro represents an emotional occasion for Beckham, who joined United as a youngster and won six Premier League titles and the 1999 Champions League before leaving for Real Madrid in 2003.

Robert Heenan

"It's one of the biggest games for me personally. But the most important thing is the team going through and beating United which I hope we do," explained Beckham.

"United are on fire, they're playing well. Wayne is scoring goals like he can. It's going to be a tough game."

Like United, Milan lost a prized asset - Kaka - to Real Madrid in the summer, as well as coming to terms with the retirement of legendary defender Paolo Maldini.

Their performances this season have been inconsistent - Friday's victory 3-2 win over Udinese ended a run of four straight defeats - but Beckham feels the Rossoneri can still match favourites United.

"Obviously there are a couple of players not here but the team is just the same, they've got this great team spirit within the squad and that's definitely not changed," added Beckham.

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see also
Beckham makes Man Utd goal pledge
08 Feb 10 |  Europe
Ferguson wary of Beckham 'circus'
02 Feb 10 |  Europe
Man Utd 'will never sell Rooney'
31 Jan 10 |  Man Utd
Rooney is world class - Ferguson
28 Jan 10 |  League Cup
Rooney carrying Man Utd - Shearer
25 Jan 10 |  Man Utd
Clubs learn Champions League fate
18 Dec 09 |  Europe
Beckham signs AC Milan loan deal
02 Nov 09 |  Europe

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