Champions League - Fury at Spanish paper's "Rooney a hooligan" jibe

A Spanish newspaper columnist has sparked outrage across Manchester - and Liverpool - by writing off Wayne Rooney as a "hooligan" who shouldn't even be on the same pitch as the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas.

Under the headline "This young man is a demon", Marca journalist Hugo Cerezo embarks upon a character assassination of the Manchester United and England striker.

"A devil with freckles and a barrel-shaped body full of gunpowder is coming to Madrid to dynamite the Bernabeu. He is a hooligan." the piece begins.

"By the look of him, he should be there penned-in at kick-off among the 4,000 English fans who will support Manchester United shouting and drinking the beer that they will have smuggled into the entrance of Tower D."

Cerezo bases his analysis on Rooney's appearance in a Spain v England friendly back in 2004, in which he apparently shoved a steward.

The piece immediately began to generate huge anger on social networking sites, even though after the controversial opening the piece becomes somewhat more balanced, with Cerezo admitting that Rooney is, "a physical marvel who plays the game at a furious pace," and a player who is, "as dangerous in front of the opponents' goal as he is terrifying if rubbed up the wrong way, which has happened several times in the course of his career."

The paper, clearly enjoying what the realised would be a notorious piece, also put it on their back page with the following huge splash. The translation? "The nutter and his 5,000 friends - 1,000 of whom will sneak in without tickets."