Ferdinand risks upsetting his former teammate with his praise for Lionel Messi
Rio Ferdinand might be the latest Manchester United hero to find himself in Cristiano Ronaldo’s bad books following his awestruck praise of Lionel Messi. The BBC Sport pundit was on hand to review Messi’s trademark performance against Australia which booked a quarter-final clash against the Netherlands, calling it the best individual display of the tournament.
Although that isn’t exactly a controversial opinion with Ronaldo only scoring once from the spot, he might well take umbrage considering his recent clash with Gary Neville, with whom he shared the United dressing room.
With Gary Lineker asking Alan Shearer, Pablo Zabaleta and Ferdinand if they could have a ‘Messi love-in’ after the 2-1 victory, the former centre-back did just that. He said: “Messi has given the best individual performance we’ve seen at this World Cup so far. By a mile.”
Messi rolled back the years to score the opening goal for Lionel Scaloni’s side, marking a third consecutive victory since they lost to Saudi Arabia. Portugal will face Switzerland in their last 16 tie having won Group H despite losing to South Korea, during which Ronaldo clashed with a rival player.
When asked to clarify the incident, boss Fernando Santos said: “Ronaldo came off the pitch angry, yes, but with the Korean player who was insulting him and sending him away from the pitch. He replied to him and that is perfectly normal. “I heard what the Korean player said, in English, and I have no doubt about it and Ronaldo replied ‘you must be in a big hurry for me to leave.'”
Lionel Messi of Argentina during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Argentina and Australia at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on December 3, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. As part of the same interview, Ronaldo said of Neville: “It’s hard to listen [to] that kind of criticism and negative about people who play with you, for example, Gary Neville, as well. “I think they take advantage of that (my profile) because they are not stupid. I’m the number one followed guy in the world. It’s not by coincidence.”