World Cup 2014: Wayne Rooney only interested in team success - not individual accolades like Cristiano Ronaldo
Striker not bothered by individual rewards
Thursday 12 June 2014
England striker Wayne Rooney insists he will never be motivated by winning individual awards - unlike his former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo's annual battle against Lionel Messi for the highly-acclaimed Ballon d'Or award has become something of a fixture on the international footballing calendar.
The Portuguese star finally beat his arch enemy to the gong this year following a superb season with Real Madrid. Rooney, on the other hand, barely got a mention, but he could not care less.
The only thing on Rooney's mind at the moment is ending a dreadful season on the best high possible - by winning the World Cup with England.
"I'm not a player who needs that (to win individual awards)," Rooney said.
"Like Cristiano Ronaldo, he has to have that and you admire him for having that.
"I'm more about winning things as a team. You can see how he is. He wants... his moments. It's more important for me to win trophies as a team.
"I've won PFA player of the year, which is nowhere near as good as winning a trophy with Manchester United.
"I've not won anything this year, so hopefully I can do that now."
Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to training for Portugal ahead of the World Cup
Rooney has barely got a sniff of winning the biggest team prize in international football either.
England stumbled through their group in South Africa before losing 4-1 to Germany, while four years earlier the Three Lions crashed out on penalties to Portugal.
England's performance at those two World Cups has mirrored Rooney's own. The striker under-performed hugely, failing to score at either tournament.
But this time Rooney insists it will be different. No longer is he troubled by injury, and he has also rid himself of the pressure he loaded upon his shoulders in Germany and South Africa.
"I feel great, better than I have done for years. I'm ready for this tournament. If know if I can play my game, I'll do well," he said.
"I've always been hard on myself. I've maybe put myself under too much pressure before.
"Maybe the media have put me under a lot of pressure and I've tried to respond to that.
"This time I haven't and I'm not going to. I'm going to enjoy it. I didn't enjoy the last ones.
"I'm going to make sure I take positive memories from this one."
The theory goes that this time the younger, emerging players will help ease the pressure on Rooney's shoulders.
Daniel Sturridge scored 21 goals for Liverpool last year, Raheem Sterling is in "breathtaking" form, according to manager Roy Hodgson, and the likes of Ross Barkley and Adam Lallana can have a big impact off the bench.
Rooney said: "The Italian defenders put themselves in good positions but, if I'm being honest, when you play a high tempo they've struggled.
"The Italian league is nowhere near the tempo of the Premier League. Even when we played AC Milan, with (Alessandro) Nesta and (Paolo) Maldini as centre-halves, they really struggled when we've played a high tempo.
"If we can do that I am sure we will give them problems."
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