Cristiano Ronaldo is “taking liberties” with his “laughable” performances for Real Madrid, says former Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand.
The Portuguese was at his jaw-dropping best during a Champions League meeting with Juventus on Tuesday.
With Real looking to their five-time Ballon d’Or winner for inspiration, the 33-year-old duly delivered with a record-breaking opener and a stunning overhead kick in a 3-0 first leg victory in Turin.
Ronaldo’s display has once again seen him held up as the greatest of all-time, with Ferdinand admitting that a remarkable skill set makes life almost unfair for those charged with the task of trying to contain him.
He told BT Sport after witnessing another talismanic showing: “He’s phenomenal. It’s actually laughable, he’s actually taking liberties.
“He’s playing against one of the most experienced back fours on the planet and is still managing to find space in the box.
“The difference with him as well, he goes into these big massive games expecting to score.
“Others hope to score. That’s a massive difference, his mindset.”
Ronaldo’s bicycle kick has been held up as the finest of his 445 efforts at club level, and Ferdinand considers it to be the best example of that art form that he has seen – even topping Wayne Rooney’s iconic strike from a Manchester derby in February 2011.
Studio Action from last night... watching Greatness! Don’t be comparing @cristiano overhead kick to @waynerooney’s vs Man City which came of his shin... Morning Wazza!! @btsportfootball pic.twitter.com/fZTH5zaudp — Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) April 4, 2018
“Another goal that I saw, I was in the stadium and fortunate enough to see it, was the Wayne Rooney goal,” the ex-United centre-half said.
“It was similar to that, but his one was off his shin pad!
“But it’s the occasion, and where he is in scoring this goal.
“This is the thing about this guy; he turns up every time he’s asked to deliver on the big stage. He’s there and delivers.”
The only blot on Ronaldo’s copybook against Juventus was the squandering of an opportunity to grab another hat-trick, and Ferdinand believes a second half miss will concern a superstar performer more than his latest record-setting exploits.
He added: "He has turned himself into a box player. He is about end product.
"I bet you he is thinking more about his miss!
“He will be slapping himself in the face in the mirror after the game. [Zinedine] Zidane must be devastated!"