Cristiano Ronaldo’s heartfelt words lead Rio Ferdinand tributes

by Sam Peoples

Cristiano Ronaldo:  “10 years have gone by since I signed for United and today, as a Real Madrid player, I want to talk about one of the greatest players that Old Trafford and the world of football have witnessed. My friend Rio.

“For me, it’s an incredible honour to be able to pay tribute to one of the best defenders of all time on such an important night. His football and personality, inside and outside the pitch, were fundamental, not only in the development of the team, but also in all of us that had the opportunity to share great memories and football moments with him.

“What I am about to say may help describe him better as a player: I feel so fortunate to have played with him rather than against him.

“Today, I wish for all the fans to enjoy a memorable occasion and to take this opportunity to pay tribute to one of the most memorable players that has worn United’s jersey.”

“My ambition now is just to keep playing. I want to keep playing for as long as possible. For the past two seasons I think I’ve been available for 90 per cent of the games and I want to maintain that, and add silverware. When you get older, you appreciate it a bit more. You realise that the tunnel is coming to an end. Even driving into Carrington every morning, you feel yourself looking around and thinking, ‘I don’t know how long this will go on for.’ The quality of the surroundings that you’re in at the training ground and Old Trafford, you look around and you take things in a bit more. Hopefully, I can do it for a couple more years.” Rio Ferdinand

John O’Shea: “Fans ask where he ranks amongst the great United defenders, and I have to say he’s got to be up there. It’s difficult to compare different generations but you can’t argue with his medal collection. There are few better. Such heady praise is more than deserved and I hope he enjoys his testimonial on Friday. Congratulations, Rio.”

Alan Smith: “Despite his age, I don’t think his performances have dipped. Not at all. People just like to try and upset the applecart and make certain people scapegoats. I think every Manchester United fan will probably say that last year Rio was as good as he’s been throughout his career. United won the league comfortably again with Rio as part of that defensive unit and you are always going to have a great chance with that stability at the back.”


Image: Twitter/ManUtd

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