“There is no doubt that Wayne Rooney is one of the best players in the world,” Maradona told England’s Daily Express.
“I put him on the same level with Ronaldinho, (Juan Roman) Riquelme and (Lionel) Messi – players of immense resource and talent.”
The captain of Argentina’s World Cup winning side in 1986 has been a high profile supporter of the side at the 2006 tournament.
“If his name was ‘Roonino’ and he had a double passport, then I’m sure he would get in our team,” he said.
“He is a phenomenal player and has all the attributes and talent to be a huge star of the finals. In many ways, Rooney reminds me of myself because he is arrogant on the field and wants the ball all the time.
“He has determination in that he breaks one, two tackles and never gives up. He also has a talent to create magic on the football pitch – nobody can teach you that.”
The former midfielder also believes the stocky striker would be better suited playing with a partner up front, rather than in a lone role currently preferred by England coach Sven Goran Eriksson.
“I thought Eriksson was too cautious playing with only one forward,” the former Barcelona and Napoli star said.
“They need (Peter) Crouch and Rooney to work together to produce goals.”
Rooney is yet to score at this World Cup.