Cristiano Ronaldo’s push for the exits at Manchester United is entirely understandable says Rio Ferdinand, with a born winner not prepared to sit around and wait for the Red Devils to get their act together as he “doesn’t even know what the Europa League soundtrack sounds like”.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who made an emotional return to a spiritual home in the summer of 2021, is looking for a way out of Old Trafford as he feels his personal ambition for trophy challenges cannot be matched by the Red Devils’ class of 2022-23.
Various landing spots are now being mooted for the 37-year-old forward, from Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain, and former team-mate Ferdinand can appreciate why an all-time great is eager to sever ties with an underperforming outfit that once again missed out on a top-four finish last season.
Why is Cristiano Ronaldo looking to leave Man Utd?
Ferdinand told his FIVE YouTube channel: “Of course he's not happy! You're talking about Cristiano Ronaldo here! I don't understand how it's a big story that Ronaldo is not happy with the way things are at Man Utd. 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?’”
Ferdinand added, with Ronaldo yet to return for pre-season training: “I've been seeing people being a touch disrespectful. 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.”
Will Cristiano Ronaldo leave Man Utd?
Man Utd have not sanctioned a switch for Ronaldo, but Ferdinand believes a lack of movement on the recruitment front – with only Dutch full-back Tyrell Malacia acquired so far – is partly responsible for a world-class performer wanting out.
The ex-England international went on to say: “He [Ronaldo] will be sitting there on his sun lounger, on his yacht, on his jet. Wherever he is in the world and seeing Man City signing [Erling] Haaland. Seeing Liverpool signing [Darwin] Nunez among other players. [Kalvin] Phillips has gone to Man City as well.
“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.”