Rio Ferdinand says Cristiano Ronaldo will NOT accept sitting on the bench

‘I know for a fact he will be absolutely FUMING’: Rio Ferdinand insists Cristiano Ronaldo will NOT accept sitting on the bench at Manchester United but warns his former team-mate ‘isn’t going to be capable’ of leaving Old Trafford this summer

  • Cristiano Ronaldo was left on the bench by Erik ten Hag for back-to-back games
  • The Portuguese will not be happy at the current state of play, says Rio Ferdinand 
  • Ronaldo’s old team-mate is adamant that he won’t accept the current situation 
  • But he concedes there are not too many options on the table for him right now

Rio Ferdinand says former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo will be ‘absolutely fuming’ after being demoted to the bench in Manchester United’s last two games. 

The Portuguese, 37, did not start either of United’s previous two fixtures – against Liverpool and Southampton – with manager Erik ten Hag instead opting to start Marcus Rashford in the centre forward position. 

Speculation has been abound this summer surrounding the future of Ronaldo, with the Portuguese making it known through various channels that he wishes to depart the club. 

Rio Ferdinand says Cristiano Ronaldo will be ‘absolutely fuming’ at being on the bench

Ronaldo was dropped to the bench in each of United's previous two Premier League games

Ronaldo was dropped to the bench in each of United’s previous two Premier League games

Ten Hag initially wanted to keep the player but his stance has since softened, as he would now be open to Ronaldo leaving. Yet so far no club matching Ronaldo’s criteria has emerged as a viable destination. 

Speaking on his own Vibe with Five podcast, Ferdinand said: ‘Whether he stays or not, none of us know. But knowing Cristiano [Ronaldo], I know for a fact that he will be absolutely fuming right now.

‘Forget who’s starting in front of him, [that] he’s not starting. You don’t get to do what he’s done in his career over this amazing amount of time at the levels he’s been playing by being someone who’s going to accept not starting and being a sub for a team that isn’t in the Champions League.’

Ferdinand suggested that sitting on the bench and playing a bit-part role would be ‘cool’ for certain players, but that Ronaldo is ‘not built like that’. 

He has seen his place as the side's main centre-forward fall to Marcus Rashford in those wins

He has seen his place as the side’s main centre-forward fall to Marcus Rashford in those wins

‘Ronaldo is not built like that,’ he said. ‘You can’t expect him to change at 37 [years-old]. 

‘He’d have been the same at 21 [years-old]. We were talking before the game with [Paul] Scholes…I remember when [David] Beckham got dropped a couple of games, the [Real] Madrid game [in 2003] etc., he [was] fuming. Superstars are built differently.

‘They don’t believe they have bad games, they don’t believe they don’t play well [and] they don’t believe they get things wrong in their game because they are so hell-bent on success and their belief in their skills and themselves that they don’t see failures.’

Since Ronaldo arrived back at United, debate has raged over his suitability to a modern, fluid attacking unit. 

Some feel the 37-year-old does not suit Erik ten Hag's modern, fluid style of play in attack

Some feel the 37-year-old does not suit Erik ten Hag’s modern, fluid style of play in attack

But Ferdinand insists his old colleague will point to the fact he was top goalscorer last season

But Ferdinand insists his old colleague will point to the fact he was top goalscorer last season

Some have questioned whether he works hard enough for the team while others have countenanced those doubts by highlighting that he was United’s top goalscorer last season.

Ferdinand weighed in on the debate by offering an insight into what Ronaldo might think about those who question his work ethic.

‘Whatever anyone says about running, pressing etc., he will be sitting there going “I scored 24 goals last season. The hardest thing to do in football is putting the ball in the back of the net and I did it 24 times last year.”‘

Asked whether he expects Ronaldo to stay or go, Ferdinand said he ‘did not believe’ he will depart simply because no team appears capable of affording his astronomical wages. 

‘Financially, I just don’t think it’s going to be capable (sic) of happening in this window,’ the former United defender said.

The former United defender said that Ronaldo (L) will now likely stay at the club this summer

The former United defender said that Ronaldo (L) will now likely stay at the club this summer

Ronaldo had been vying for a United departure after they missed out on Champions League

Ronaldo had been vying for a United departure after they missed out on Champions League

Concerns may therefore be raised about the problems of keeping a player who will not take well to being on the bench, an issue which could affect the mood in the dressing room and destabilise the squad. 

Ferdinand, however, knows Ronaldo to be ‘calculated and intelligent enough to not want to destabilise the regime’ from their time together. 

‘He may be prickly at times, but you will not see a drop in intensity, focus and professionalism. I don’t think he’ll be stand-offish and blank people and be an absolute eye sore in the place, I don’t think he’s like that,’ he added.  

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