Rio Ferdinand has defended Cristiano Ronaldo following his move to Saudi Arabia club Al-Nassr, comparing the switch to the swansongs enjoyed by former Manchester United stars Wayne Rooney and David Beckham in the United States.
Ronaldo confirmed his move to the Saudi Arabian side on a sensational £175million-a-year contract on Friday following his tumultuous exit from Manchester United in November.
Ronaldo, 37, had been a free agent after leaving United in the wake of his damning and controversial interview with Piers Morgan, with fans now flocking to social media to claim he is ‘so done’ after moving to the Middle East.
Ferdinand has hit back after Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher expressed ‘sadness’ at the move, with the Sky Sports pundits saying the move marked the end of Ronaldo playing at the highest level.
Ferdinand claimed ‘no man on the planet’ had earned the right to the move more than the Portuguese star.
‘It was great to see David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, it was great to see them go to America,’ Ferdinand said on his Vibe with FIVE podcast. ‘What a way to finish their careers, getting great money, going to a league that’s not as competitive, they’ve deserved that, they’ve earned the right.
‘That’s all I saw in the media. But because it’s Saudi Arabia, it’s a disgrace, its sad. Let a man go and live, let a man go and enjoy it. It’s a new adventure he’s taking his family to experience a new culture.
‘Every single country in the world has its issues, so America have got less issues than Saudi, have they? But its fine for all these players to go to America. Let’s let them go to the States and have a swansong year and just toss it off.
‘I don’t like it. It stinks we’re not hearing this type of talk. It’s out of order.
‘Everyone should be treated the same. Every other player that’s gone to a less competitive league to end their career has been told you’ve earned the right. No man on the planet would have earned the right more than this guy.’