Cristiano Ronaldo is pushing to leave Manchester United this summer (EPA)
Rio Ferdinand has accused some Manchester United supporters of being ‘disrespectful’ towards Cristiano Ronaldo after he failed to report back for pre-season training this week.
Ronaldo has decided to leave United this summer following the club’s failure to secure a place in the Champions League.
The 37-year-old was due to begin pre-season training with the rest of his United teammates on Monday but has remained in Portugal due to ‘family reasons’.
United fans have subsequently accused Ronaldo of attempting to engineer a move away from Old Trafford, but Ferdinand insists his former teammate’s reason for his absence should be respected.
‘I’ve been seeing people being a touch disrespectful,’ Ferdinand told Vibe With Five.
‘The way that people are questioning ‘he’s not here’ and the hysteria surrounding it. A member of his family is not well, so he’s not at training.
‘This is the most consummate, most professional athlete that we’ve seen on these shores. The most professional athlete we’ve seen for over 15 years and people are questioning this guy’s professionalism and why he’s not at the training ground.
‘Yeah he might want to leave, he might not be happy with certain things at the football club, but in terms of professionalism, this guy is training where he is – we’ve seen the pictures. His family are there, he needs to be where they are and you have to respect that. Simple as. Could it have been communicated better by the club? Probably.’
Rio Ferdinand insists Cristiano Ronaldo’s reason for missing training should be respected (Getty)
Ferdinand also insists it should be no surprise that Ronaldo is not satisfied after United’s worst-ever Premier League season.
‘Of course he’s not happy,’ Ferdinand said.
‘You’re talking about Cristiano Ronaldo here! I don’t understand how it’s a big story that Cristiano Ronaldo is not happy with the way things are at Man United. He can’t be. I wouldn’t be.
‘Anyone who wants to win football matches or trophies, anyone who is used to winning and competing every year at the top of the table for the biggest prizes, and then all of a sudden isn’t, and doesn’t even qualify for the Champions League, you can’t sit here and expect them to be happy.
‘He’s not happy with missing out on the Champions League, he doesn’t even know what the Europa League soundtrack sounds like. When that comes on, he’s going to be thinking, ‘what dance am I in here?’.
‘He will be sitting there on his sun lounger, on his yacht, on his jet,’ Ferdinand said. ‘Wherever he is in the world and seeing Man City signing Haaland. Seeing Liverpool signing [Darwin] Nunez among other players. [Kalvin] Phillips has gone to City as well.
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‘He’ll be sitting there thinking, ‘we had work to do to catch these guys anyway before these big signings and now they’re jumping even further away from us’. Arsenal are making moves, he’ll be thinking, ‘when is my team going to start making moves?’. We all know we need some new faces in that building. He hasn’t seen any movement.
‘I understand the frustrations. I definitely would be frustrated. I as a player was on to the manager, on to David Gill [asking] who are we signing? That’s the way I was. I’m sure that’s what Cristiano is like and other players will be like that as well. He’s the biggest name but he won’t be the only one who’s disgruntled with the way things are.
‘We’re slow out of the blocks in the transfer market. There will have been work going on behind the scenes at Man United but we’re all human, we’re all impatient and we all want it done.’
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