Argentinean hit-man Diego Milito says it is laughable to compare Wayne Rooney to Lionel Messi.
The Manchester United and England striker earned high praise last term after stepping up with a hatful of goals following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez.
But Inter Milan ace Milito, who scored both goals in their UEFA Champions League final win over Bayern Munich, insists it is wrong to compare the England striker with World Footballer of the Year Messi.
Milito, who could face Rooney in a quarter-final clash next Saturday, told the Daily Star Sunday: "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.
"We are looking at a player in Messi who, when he retires, may very well be the best player to have graced the game.
"How can he be compared to anybody currently playing, let alone a player who has never ever won World Player of the Year?
"While I don't agree with it, I can understand Messi being compared to Kaka and Ronaldo, but Rooney? No, no, no."
Milito added: "Like I said, I think Rooney is a very good player, maybe even a top 20 player in the world - but that doesn't make him Messi, it doesn't even make him close to Messi.
"It's a long way off but if we do draw England in the quarter-finals, Rooney will be a player we show respect to.
"But Messi is marked by five or six players at a time and I don't see us doing that to Rooney.
"Messi has told us that he doesn't want to be considered a legend until he has won a World Cup - but like it or not, the boy is already a legend."
Meanwhile, Messi has offered misfiring Rooney some advice ahead of the crunch clash with Germany on Sunday.
Rooney has failed to find the net so far in England's World Cup campaign but Messi believes his counterpart should just relax.
The Barcelona star said: "Rooney should approach the game as if it were a pre-season friendly with Manchester United.
"It might sound crazy but players like Rooney play at their best when they are not thinking.
"Top stars play at their peak when what they do is natural and instinctive.
"People have written that I can't play as well for Argentina as I can for Barcelona, so I know what pressure there is.
"But when Rooney is out there today, it is about him, the ball and nothing else."