Pep Guardiola believes Wayne Rooney’s private life should be respected following a week of tabloid outcry concerning the England captain drinking while on international duty.
The Sun published photographs showing Rooney allegedly drunk after joining a wedding party at England’s team hotel a day on from last Friday’s World Cup qualifying win over Scotland.
The 31-year-old Manchester United forward subsequently apologised for “inappropriate” conduct in a statement before reports on Thursday claimed his captaincy of the national team was in jeopardy.
Manchester City boss Guardiola expressed sympathy for Rooney while addressing the media ahead of Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace, with the former Barcelona midfielder grateful he did not find himself under similar scrutiny when playing for Spain.
“I don’t like when people comment about my private life and I will not comment on about the private life of other people,” he said.
“I have a lot of respect for Wayne Rooney, for his career and as a human being. The private life is the private life.
“I am responsible for what I do; it is not the responsibility of Manchester City.
“I was an international player in my career and sometimes I was drunk as well. I was lucky there were no pictures or something like that.
“You [the reporters] drink as well – you are responsible, I am responsible, Wayne is responsible. The association does not have to be responsible for that. We are people who are old enough to take our responsibility.”
Guardiola was happy to report a less eventful stint on international duty for his first team stars, although he suggested fatigue could be a factor for the likes of Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho at Selhurt Park having taken part in the CONMEBOL qualifiers.
He added: “All the players came back good, fit. The players who played 90 minutes are tired, especially the South American players.
“That is normal so tomorrow I am going to decide. But they are fit, no injuries and that is the most important thing.
“As quick as possible I try to involve the players again in our reality [after they return]. They need time, they are human beings and the calendar is so stressful for the players.
“I rest 10 days but the players don’t. It is so demanding, with 11 months and then two or three weeks off. And they cannot loose, they cannot play bad.”
Bacary Sagna is back to full fitness following a hamstring injury and club captain Vincent Kompany is also available to Guardiola despite pulling out of Belgium’s friendly against Netherlands before kick-off and sitting out the 8-1 thrashing of Estonia.
City lie third in the Premier League, two points behind leaders Liverpool having drawn each of their past three domestic home matches 1-1.
“[I expect] a tough game at Crystal Palace,” Guardiola added. “I have had time to see many of their games, it will be tough.
“They have a coach with a lot of experience in England. They are fast, one against one. We know the situation.”