‘Man United CAN’T let Cristiano Ronaldo go’, insists Rio Ferdinand, who says the veteran forward should have started against Brighton even though he wasn’t fully fit… as Old Trafford legend reveals the team he would pick against Brentford
- Rio Ferdinand says the club must hold onto Cristiano Ronaldo this summer
- The central defender says the club would not entertain the idea of letting him go
- Former Manchester United captain insists the club will improve at Brentford
Rio Ferdinand has said that Manchester United would not even entertain the idea of letting Cristiano Ronaldo leave at present.
The former teammate of the Portuguese believes United must hold onto the wantaway forward due to the number of goals he scored for them last season and the club not possessing anyone else who can match those numbers.
Speaking on his Vibe with Five podcast in the aftermath of United’s home defeat to Brighton on Sunday in Erik ten Hag’s first competitive game in charge, Ferdinand leaped to the defence of Ronaldo before arguing that the club would not let him go at present.
Rio Ferdinand said that Manchester United would never let Cristiano Ronaldo go this summer
Asked whether or not he would have started Ronaldo against Brighton, Ferdinand said: ‘For a player, the worst thing for you to do is sit on the bench and come on in a game.
‘You start him, tell him “you’re going to play 45 and do what you do”. He would’ve [had 45 minutes in him]. He’s experienced enough to pace himself through a game. You’ve got to trust these guys.’
The former United player then argued: ‘Man United are never letting him go right now. Where are they going to find 24 goals?
United endured the worst possible start under Erik ten Hag as they fell to a 2-1 home defeat
‘Don’t have the conversation, you’re not going anywhere,’ he added.
After co-hosts Stephen Howson and Joel Beya tried to make the case for Ronaldo being allowed to leave and United moving on, Ferdinand doubled down on his argument.
‘Man United can’t let him go. Where are they finding 24 goals? [Darwin] Nunez has gone to Liverpool, [Erling] Haaland’s gone to [Manchester] City,’ he argued.
The conversation then turned to whether or not it was beneficial for Ten Hag to start Ronaldo, something Ferdinand was equally unequivocal over.
Ferdinand said that the club do not possess anyone else capable of scoring 24 goals across a season
‘Not even a question, start him, Jesus,’ he said. ‘A 50 per cent fit Ronaldo, you’re putting your money on him before anyone [else] in that team.’
After Beya suggested that it had worked out better for Ronaldo not to start the game against Brighton, Ferdinand grew ever more flustered at the arguments of his co-hosts.
‘No chance [it benefited Ronaldo]. It’s worked out worse for Man United, if he starts, you’ve got a better chance of getting a better performance out of Cristiano Ronaldo [longer term].’
The former United central defender said that Ten Hag (C) should have started Ronaldo
‘[Ronaldo] is coming back fitter than anyone still. He’s coming back into the building fitter than anyone, trust me. But due to the lateness of coming back to pre-season, he’s behind in the physicality in terms of being with the team,’ Ferdinand then explained Ronaldo’s absence from the outset as being.
The reason for him being left out was ‘both [tactical and fitness related’, Ferdinand claimed.
‘Match fitness is different to fitness on your own…we all understand that. But, listen, he’s one of the greatest players of all time. Put him on the pitch early doors when you’re in the game,’ he explained.
Ferdinand implored the Dutch boss to start his former teammate up front against Brentford
Meanwhile, later in the podcast the conversation turned to United’s starting line up for their trip to Brentford on Saturday evening.
Unsurprisingly, Ferdinand admitted that he would ‘start Ronaldo up front’, as well as Marcus Rashford on the left with Jadon Sancho completing the forward line on the right.
The midfield three would be made up of ‘[Christian] Eriksen, Bruno [Fernandes]’ and new signing Lisandro Martinez as the holding player.
Rio Ferdinand admitted that he would drop Scott McTominay and Fred and restructure United’s midfield for the game at Brentford
Ferdinand’s back four would be made up of Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot with David de Gea in goal.
Concluding the podcast with a message for Brentford, Ferdinand insisted his club would improve from the opening weekend.
‘Man United will improve from the first day against Brighton,’ he said. ‘Things will only get better.’
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