Manchester United star Wayne Rooney: Manchester City will challenge us for Premier League title this season

The England international believes that City could pose a major challenge for the title this season, while revealing that he enjoys watching Real Madrid and Barcelona
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has admitted that cross-town rivals Manchester City will give his a club a run for their money in the 2011-12 Premier League.

City have been splashing the cash in the transfer market to reinforce their squad after finishing third in the Premier League last season and have so far brought in defenders Gael Clichy and Stefan Savic and seemingly striker Sergio Aguero as they look to mount a serious challenge.

"There are at least five or six teams who will compete for the championship this year, among them Manchester City," Rooney told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"But in the Premier League, more than in any other country, you have to work hard even when you face teams that are at the bottom of the table."

Questioned about the clubs he enjoys watching besides his own, Rooney mentioned La Liga's big two, while dedicating special words of praise to Lionel Messi.

"Apart from Manchester, there is no doubt: Real Madrid and Barcelona. They have so many talented players, there is always the chance of a great spectacle," he added.

"The answer [to whom I never get tired of watching] seems obvious: Messi. He has fast feet and is very intelligent. When you see him on the field, everything looks so simple."

Inter's Wesley Sneijder has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester United this summer, but Rooney revealed that his favourite player in Serie A lies elsewhere.

"Before he retired, I was a big fan of Maldini. He was always an example. Now I really appreciate Clarence Seedorf," noted the England international.