WAYNE ROONEY has revealed he was keen to swap Manchester United for Barcelona in 2010 as he longed to play alongside Lionel Messi.
The 35-year-old has stated that he came close to departing Old Trafford a decade ago after putting in a transfer request.
Despite heavy interest from Chelsea, the former England skipper has insisted he wanted to ply his trade at the Nou Camp.
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He told the UTD Podcast: “In my head, at the time, in that two-day period, I was ready to go and play in Spain.
“Ideally, I would have liked to have gone to Barcelona, but it was looking more likely to be Real Madrid than Barcelona. Chelsea were always there as well.
“I remember sitting down for one day and thinking ‘imagine playing in that Barcelona team – Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets’.
“And at that time Messi wasn’t playing the way he plays now, as a No 9 for instance. He was out wide.
“I was thinking I could have slotted in perfectly. I could have come to the ball as well and have players running in behind. I remember thinking about that.”
Rooney – who is looking to become Derby’s permanent gaffer – scored against the Blaugrana in the Champions League final defeat at the end of the 2010/11 season.
But should he have linked up with Pep Guardiola’s side, he would have surely led the line for the Spanish giants.
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His former United team-mate Victor Valdes would have started between the sticks, with Dani Alves and Eric Abidal to slot in as Barca’s full-backs.
Gerard Pique – another team-mate of Rooney during his spell at the Theatre of Dreams – would have featured alongside Javier Mascherano at centre-back.
A midfield three would have consisted of Spanish trio Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
Centre-forward David Villa joined from Valencia in 2010, but he would have started at left wing as he did for Barca.
Lionel Messi would then have had to slot in on the ring wing with Rooney spearheading the attack for the Catalan club.