Every country in the world has its issues’ – Rio Ferdinand defends Cristiano Ronaldo move to Saudi Arabia

January 2, 2023

Rio Ferdinand has questioned the criticism and mockery Cristiano Ronaldo has faced since agreeing to join Al-Nassr after leaving Manchester United..

Rio Ferdinand says the criticism being directed at Cristiano Ronaldo regarding his move to Saudi Arabia is laced with hypocrisy, with the pundit drawing comparisons with when other Premier League greats have moved to developing football nations.

Ronaldo’s transfer to Al-Nassr was announced on Friday, just over five weeks after his United contract was terminated by mutual consent following his interview with Piers Morgan.

During that interview, Ronaldo agreed with Morgan when the interviewer said that he believed Ronaldo wanted to play at the highest level and wasn’t motivated by money.

Ronaldo said: “Exactly, because I still believe that I can score many many goals and help the team. I believe I am still good enough to help my national team, even Manchester United.”

Ronaldo will reportedly earn more than £3million per week in Saudi Arabia and the move effectively signals the end of his top-level career.

Ferdinand believes the fact that Ronaldo has moved to Saudi Arabia, rather than the United States, means he has faced more criticism than other Premier League greats whose careers have wound down in less-competitive environments.

Speaking on the Vibe with FIVE podcast, the ex-defender said: “It was great to see David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, it was great to see them go to America.

“What a way to finish their careers, getting great money, going to a league that’s not as competitive, they’ve deserved that, they’ve earned the right.

“That’s all I saw in the media. But because it’s Saudi Arabia, it’s a disgrace, it’s sad. Let a man go and live, let a man go and enjoy it. It’s a new adventure. He’s taking his family to experience a new culture.”

Ferdinand added: “Every single country in the world has its issues, so America has got less issues than Saudi, have they? But it’s fine for all these players to go to America. Let’s let them go to the States and have a swansong year and just toss it off.

I don’t like it. It stinks we’re not hearing this type of talk. It’s out of order. Everyone should be treated the same. Every other player that’s gone to a less competitive league to end their career has been told you’ve earned the right. No man on the planet would have earned the right more than this guy.”