The striker hit the headlines in the UK for getting drunk on England duty but the Liverpool boss says it’s nothing compared to what footballers used to get up to.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has defended Wayne Rooney after he was forced to apologise for photographs purportedly showing him heavily intoxicated while on England duty, stressing players of past years used to “drink like devils and smoke like crazy”.
Photos emerged in a report from The Sun which allegedly showed Rooney drunk three days before the international friendly against Spain on Tuesday.
The Manchester United forward is claimed to have attended a wedding held at the national team’s hotel 24 hours after Friday’s 3-0 win over Scotland.
The 31-year-old issued a statement on Wednesday to apologise for the “inappropriate” pictures, but Klopp was quick to downplay the significance of what happened as he feels worse things took place with previous generations.
“He has apologised for having a glass of whatever? I really feel for the players,” he told reporters on Thursday. “There is a human being behind the kid.
“I really feel for the players. I know we are all on the sunny side of life, and we earn a lot of money, and do the job we love. But at the end, maybe it’s a surprise that there are human beings behind the kit.
“Sometimes you are invited to something – and maybe it’s a wedding and a birthday – and we can play the professional role and say: ‘No we don’t drink and if you smoke please go 20 yards between me and you because I don’t want to be a passive smoker’. That’s not how life works.
“These boys, this generation, is the most professional generation of footballers. All the legends you still love and all the guys you still admire, they drank like devils and they smoked like crazy, and they were still good players! Nobody does that anymore. These guys are professional players.
“It’s all about timing and when you are in the wrong moment at the wrong place, then it’s always in the life not good as a professional player. I have no any idea where Wayne was, but I’m pretty sure it was not really serious.
“That’s the not-so-nice part of our lives. All we do sounds like a big catastrophe when it’s not perfect, and it isn’t. It’s nothing. I don’t know much about it but it’s nothing. The German national team were in Rome and I saw some pictures where they were out in a restaurant. They had no glasses in their hands, but do you think they didn’t drink? That’s how it is and that’s the life we live – under the glass [microscope].
“We know it. Most of the time we function and sometimes not and the whole world is talking about it. In one, two, three days nobody will remember what happened today, so why do we make a big deal of it now?”