Seedorf thanks 'generous' Rooney

Seedorf thanks 'generous' Rooney

Published Feb. 14, 2010 1:37 p.m. ET

Clarence Seedorf was "flattered" when Wayne Rooney labelled him the best player he has faced and admits he is also a huge fan of the striker.

But the AC Milan midfielder does not believe the Italian giants need to man-mark Manchester United's in-form England star when the two teams meet in their heavyweight Champions League clash.

Seedorf and Rooney will be in opposition on Tuesday when United face Milan at the San Siro in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

Rooney has said Seedorf "is probably the best player I've ever played against" and described the Dutch midfielder's performance for Milan against United in the 2007 semi-finals as "unbelievable".

Seedorf said: "I was really flattered by those words and thank him.

"I'm a big fan of him, he's such a generous player and a quality player and hearing those words from him meant a lot to me."

Seedorf stressed he would not make special plans to handle Rooney, or any other player.

"I've never believed in containing a single player because no single player has ever alone made the difference. It's a team effort, it's a team performance," he said on BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme.

"Then of course we know there is a lot of individual quality there and I would say Rooney is a player that is very much a team player with incredible individual skills.

"So we have to be sure that we play the game as we want and impose our game, so we can reduce the importance of the individuals that are on the other side."

Milan could include former United midfielder David Beckham in their line-up on Tuesday, and Seedorf has no doubt the one-time Old Trafford icon is relishing the two matches.

And he urged Beckham to enjoy the moment if he scores against his former club.

Beckham recently said he would not celebrate a goal against United but Seedorf said: "Scoring a goal in the Champions League is a special moment and a special emotion and I think you should be joyful.

"Celebrating your goal doesn't mean you're being disrespectful to the team you've played for for so long."