Rio Ferdinand says Cristiano Ronaldo is “p*ssed” at sitting on the bench for Manchester United but explained how things will “shift” under Erik ten Hag.
Ronaldo returned to United in the summer of 2021 an was top goalscorer for the Red Devils in their worst ever Premier League season last term.
The Portugal international has not started any of United’s last four Premier League games, all of which they’ve won, coming from the bench for cameos in each of them.
Ferdinand claims Ten Hag has made the right call in dropping the five-time Ballon d’Or winner but believes Ronaldo will get his place back in the starting XI.
“He’ll be p***** , he won’t be happy,” Ferdinand told William Hill.
“You don’t get to do what he’s done over that period of time and be happy and content to be on the bench, or not to be getting the numbers you want to be getting. But he’ll be professional, he’ll be focused, because he’ll know his time’s going to come.
“He hasn’t had a pre-season, so I understand why he’s not playing, and Marcus Rashford is scoring and assisting goals at the moment, so I understand why he’s staying in the team.
“The team is the overriding factor at the moment. The way United started the season, they’re making sure the team is doing the right things and forget about individuals.
“Obviously, Casemiro is a big signing, but isn’t playing. Ronaldo isn’t playing, but their time will come. And, when their time comes, I think they’ll both stay in the team. I just think that will be the case and the manager will shift it about.”
Ferdinand explained the change in Ronaldo since he first arrived at United nearly two decades ago.
“The Ronaldo that people have seen the last four, five or six years is not the Ronaldo who came to United,” Ferdinand added. “He was a showman. People would come to the stadium going ‘I have come to see Ronaldo get me off my seat today’. That’s what it was like.
“Now, at the back end of his career, it’s like ‘I’m coming to see a moment in the game, where he decides the game’. Whereas before, he could give you five, six, seven, eight, nine or 10 moments in the game, because he was just pure skill.
“He might score, he might set one up, but it was just about making someone look stupid, he wanted to embarrass people, he was a joke, man, an unbelievable player.
“But he got kicked enough in training and drilled enough in training by us, that got him to a place where he understood that, actually, end product overrides everything. You can entertain to a certain extent, but you need an end product – and he left us as the best player in the world.”