The Belgian has enjoyed yet another stellar campaign for City.
Writing in his column for The Sunday Times , Rooney said: "There's no doubt Man City's biggest weapon is De Bruyne — arguably one of the top three players in the world right now.
"Playing against him was never, ever, easy and I'll always remember Everton using me and Morgan Schneiderlin, in a 4-4-2, against a City midfield of De Bruyne, David Silva and Fernandinho, with Sterling dropping in.
"We were 3-0 down after 37 minutes and had 18 per cent possession in the game."
Rooney added: "De Bruyne reminds me a bit of Steven Gerrard. He drifts out to that right-hand side and plays some brilliant balls whipped in, like Stevie used to.
"You watch, when he's in possession in space other players start running and that's the biggest compliment you can pay a midfielder.
"When I played with Ryan Giggs and Giggsy got the ball, I made runs because I knew he'd try and find me, and if it came off he'd get me through on goal.
"De Bruyne is like that. Teams think they can force him to play it to the side but he can squeeze those passes through the smallest gaps."