Wayne Rooney is a 'freckled demon' and a 'hooligan' according to Spanish newspaper

Manchester United striker targeted ahead of Champions League tie against Real Madrid
  • @simonrice

Spanish daily newspaper Marca has described Wayne Rooney as a “freckled demon” ahead of Manchester United's visit to the Bernabeu.

The current Premier League leaders take on Real Madrid in a last-16 Champions League tie, and it is United's England centre-forward who has been singled out by the Spanish press.

Rooney is featured on the front page of the Madrid-based newspaper under the headline "El Coco", which means 'bogey man'.

The article goes on to describe the former Evertonian as "a barrell packed with gunpowder", and "a football player and hooligan rolled into one".

The article written by Hugo Cerezo read: "Wayne Rooney is a football player and hooligan all rolled into one. To look at him, you'd think he was one of the 4,000 British fans on the terraces … yelling and drinking beer and jumping the queue to get in through Gate D.

"But Rooney will run out on to the turf at the Bernabeu and face players who have bones to pick with him. Pepe, [Ricardo] Carvalho, [Iker] Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo may well relive their encounters with the English bad boy."

The article will only raise the temperature ahead of a game described by Jose Mourinho as the one "the world is waiting for".

The "bones to pick" reference is in relation to a number of incidents Rooney has been involved in over the years.

When playing for England at the 2006 World Cup, Rooney stamped on Ricardo Carvalho and as he was sent off, Ronaldo was seen winking at the Portuguese bench.

Rooney was also involved in a confrontation with Iker Casillas when England played at the venue for tomorrow's match eight years ago. The United striker was substituted in that match with the player seemingly at risk of being sent off in a game tarnished by racist chanting by the home fans.

Last season, Rooney tweeted that Pepe was an idiot after the Real Madrid defender trod on Lionel Messi's hand.

Wayne Rooney has said of tomorrow's match: "I've played at the Bernabeu once before for England against Spain, but it wasn't a good experience to be honest," Rooney said on his Facebook page.

"I got subbed just before half-time, and didn't really get many touches because Spain kept the ball really well.

"Hopefully this time it will go a lot better."