Italian press purr over red-hot Rooney

Wayne Rooney's match-winning display for Manchester United against AC Milan on Tuesday may have resulted in rave reviews from the British media.

But the England forward, whose two goals in the Red Devils' 3-2 win at the San Siro put Sir Alex Ferguson's side in pole position to reach the quarter-finals, also received an unusually high amount of praise from journalists in Italy.

As FourFourTwo's Riccardo Rossi explained in his latest Serie Aaaaargh! blog, generally, a score of eight out of 10 pops up as many times as the winning line in the Italian lottery.

But each of the major sports dailies awarded Rooney the equivalent of a gold star in a school report.

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"Any coach would want him in his side. Changes the whole look of the team," gushed La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"He is truly a great striker: a little quiet in the first half but burst into life after the break to totally destroy the Milan defence. Two headers, plenty of movement, great personality. [Fabio] Capello, who was in the stands, has all the spoils with this player."

While Tuttosport swooned: "Stomped around without much grace in the first half and was booked for protesting. Then after the break his movement first of all 'stiffed' [Daniele] Bonera at the back post and then he sniffed out another goal, getting in behind [Alessandro] Nesta.

"Could have received another yellow card for a challenge on Thiago Silva but as the English say, he is just irreplaceable."

Corriere dello Sport claimed that Milan defensive duo Nesta and Silva will be dreading the return leg and another night attempting to keep Rooney quiet.

"Didn’t receive the best of service in the first half and was rightly angry with Nani. Decided to take matters into his own hands after the break and every time he touched the ball he created danger.

"Couldn’t find the target with two shots and it looked as if he would remain goalless. Then he crowned his evening to leave Capello full of admiration. Nesta and Silva will remember him as their worst nightmare."

And even the non-sporting but highly-respected Corriere dello Sera could not help but wax lyrical.

"Was a venomous outsider in the first half but then like a wolf stalking its prey he bolted out of the woods.

"A header to make it 2-1, a left-footer just wide and then the absolute ruler of the penalty-area to make it 3-1. A free-kick just wide rounded it off. Simply extraordinary."

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