In an interview with the Telegraph, Pique described his former teammate as “one of the best English players in history” and believes the forward still has plenty to offer at Old Trafford.
Pique explained that Rooney helped him to adapt to life at Manchester United and even taught him some English. The Spanish World Cup winner only spent four years with the Red Devils before returning to Barcelona in 2008, where he has enjoyed phenomenal success alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
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But Pique will never forget how Rooney treated him. “Sometimes we have phone calls, texts,” the world-class centre-back admitted.
“He’s a fantastic lad. When I was there [at United – from 2004-08] he was really young and I was really young too and he helped me a lot. He involved me in the team, helped me to learn English. He was the joker in the dressing room. I have great memories.”
Pique: Rooney can play for a long time to come
Rooney has come in for heavy criticism this season following a string of underwhelming performances but managed to silence some of his critics by scoring the winning goal against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League last week.
Pique has no doubt - like the majority of Rooney’s current and former teammates - that the England captain still has many years ahead of him at the very top level.
“He’s not as quick as he was, maybe, but he will always score goals – he scored a hat-trick against Brugge, he scored against CSKA (Moscow). He has kept scoring,” the 28-year-old added.
“It’s true he’s getting older, we all have to accept that, but he has the ability to play for a long time. And, you know, when you don’t score sometimes it is not because of you. Sometimes it’s maybe the team is not creating chances for you.
“Not everything, always, is about your performance. It’s about the team performance. When the team is not playing well then normally you will not play well. It’s all about the team.”
Fans frustrated with LvG's favouritism towards Rooney
United fans are particularly frustrated with Louis van Gaal’s reluctance to either drop or substitute his captain - although for the first time this season, in last weekend’s 2-0 win over West Brom, Rooney was subbed off with 10 minutes of the match remaining.
Supporters have also been perturbed by Van Gaal’s decision to sacrifice Anthony Martial, by deploying the teenager on the left flank, in order to accommodate the under-performing Rooney in his favoured position upfront.
Van Gaal has the utmost faith in his skipper, though, as do those who know him best - his current teammates and those who used to line up alongside him.
Perhaps it won’t be too much longer before Rooney hits top gear again.
Manchester United fans: is Wayne Rooney going through a blip - or do you think he’s finished as a top-level footballer? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!
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