Manchester, Jan 13: Wayne Rooney put his own goal-scoring instincts aside to allow Cristiano Ronaldo to shine at Manchester United football club before his switch to Spain's Real Madrid, former United midfielder Darren Fletcher said.
Ronaldo played at United between 2003 and 2009 and evolved as one the premier footballers of the world. He then switched from United to Real Madrid.
"Everybody wants recognition. You always think you should have more," Fletcher told the Daily Mail on Thursday.
"But he's (Rooney) broken records, captained United and England, won everything. He's up there with the best, every bit as influential as Ronaldo in his day. Those two went toe to toe one year, but after that, to allow Ronaldo to go forward, Wayne fell back and was a team player and that was what they needed.
"People with good football intelligence will realise that. Others may not," Fletcher, who featured in 223 matches for United before moving to West Bromwich Albion in 2015, added.
Ronaldo, Rooney and Carlos Tevez formed a feted trio at United under coach Alex Ferguson winning the Champions League in 2008, their moment of crowning glory.
Rooney equalled United legend Bobby Charlton's record of 249 goals for United after scoring in the English Football Association (FA) Cup win over Reading on January 7.
Real Madrid's Ronaldo on Monday was named the best footballer of the 2015-16 season by world governing body FIFA.