Sven-Goran Eriksson says Wayne Rooney would take the Chinese Super League to another level and has urged the Manchester United striker to consider making a move if he ever leaves Old Trafford.
Former England boss Eriksson, who manages CSL club Shanghai SIPG, said the sport is growing at an astronomical rate in China but the arrival of a player of Rooney’s calibre would help take it to “another level.”
“Football is becoming huge here and they have very big ambitions for the Chinese Super League,” Eriksson told The Sun. “We already have famous players, like Robinho, Asamoah Gyan and Demba Ba, and they have brought something special.
“But of course Rooney is at another level. He is top, top, top — in the same category as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.”
The Swede moved to China in 2013 to coach Guangzhou R&F, but in November 2014 he took over Shanghai SIPG and led the club to second in the table.
Eriksson thinks Rooney, who still has three years left on his Man United contract, would still be in fine form to join the CSL down the road and added that life in a big city in Shanghai would offer everything and more that the 30-year-old is accustomed to in England.
“Everybody in China knows the superstar players like him. Rooney would take this league to another level, I have no doubt about that,” Eriksson said. “I live in Shanghai, and if you asked me to compare it to London, I honestly couldn’t say which was better.
“It is modern, cosmopolitan and has so much energy. Everything you need is here. It is fantastic and would be a great place for him to end his career.
“Football has become much, much bigger even in the time I have been here. I think in the years to come it will be huge and a player like Rooney could help that development.”
The former Manchester City manager was quick to downplay the effects age would have on Rooney, 30, if he moved to China in three years’ time.
“Rooney has never had big injuries, so I think he will still be a great player in his mid-thirties,” he said. “He has never relied on speed too much either.
“Teams from all over the world will try to sign him, I am sure. It would be fantastic if he could come out here to China.”