Shakhtar Donetsk defender Yaroslav Rakitskiy has lavished praise upon Manchester United star Wayne Rooney ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash at the Donbass Arena.
The fixture between the two Group A favourites comes at a somewhat difficult time for both clubs, with the reigning Ukrainian champions lying third in their domestic league - six points adrift of leaders Metalist - and the visitors seemingly in crisis after consecutive Premier League defeats to Manchester City and Steve Clarke's West Bromwich Albion.
The upcoming fixture between the two would appear to be of great significance to both under-pressure United boss David Moyes and his counterpart Mircea Lucescu.
Following an impressive run of form in which he has notched five goals in as many games for the Red Devils, England international Rooney is likely to be pivotal for United's chances of returning to Manchester with a morale-boosting result.
That is a point of view seemingly shared by Ukraine international Rakitskiy, with the 24-year-old full of praise for the former Everton frontman ahead of Wednesday's keenly-anticipated encounter.
"Rooney is a great striker," he was quoted by the Daily Mirror.
"I have played against him for three years, with the national team, so I will try well to play against him. We will have to show our best qualities.
"It's very difficult to compare them [Rooney with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo]. Rooney is a very good player and he plays for a very good club. It's a different tournament now and we're not thinking about domestic leagues. We are thinking about the Champions League," he added.
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