The Red Devils captain has enjoyed something of a purple patch in recent weeks after manager Louis van Gaal moved the England international into his preferred striker role.
He is apart from the other great players you have. He is a man who embodies all the history of the club
Rooney scored in a 3-0 victory over their top-four rivals Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Sunday, taking his tally to five goals in his last six games in all competitions.
Breitner, who won five Bundesliga crowns and two La Liga titles during his decorated playing career, underlined Rooney’s continued value to United on the pitch and commercially.
“You have so many outstanding players in your team and in your squad but, of course, if you talk right now about the players of Manchester United then, in Europe and in world football, the number one is Wayne Rooney,” Breitner told United’s website.
“If you have a player at the level of [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Lionel] Messi or [Franck] Ribery for instance, you are always thinking of him, Wayne Rooney, [as well] because he is for many, many football fans and hundreds of millions of people, he is Manchester United.
“He is apart from the other great players you have. He is a man who embodies all the history of the club.”
The former West Germany international enjoyed a trophy-laden playing career, winning the European Cup and the World Cup in 1974.
Rooney, meanwhile, has already won five Premier League titles with the Red Devils, whilst he helped Sir Alex Ferguson’s side win the Champions League final on penalties in 2008.
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