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Cristiano Ronaldo defended by Rio Ferdinand as he compares controversial Al Nassr transfer to Wayne Rooney’s ‘swansong’

RIO FERDINAND has defended Cristiano Ronaldo for cashing in with a mega-money move to Saudi Arabia.

Ferdinand believes Ronaldo “deserves” his £173million-a-year Al Nassr contract more than Wayne Rooney and David Beckham with their own lucrative “swansongs” in the USA.

Cristiano Ronaldo will become the highest-paid sportsman in history after his switch to Saudi club Al Nassr
Rio Ferdinand believes Ronaldo’s move to Saudi Arabia has been unfairly criticised because every country has its problems

Portugal legend Ron, 37, opted for a country criticised for its human rights record after reportedly receiving little interest from Europe.

But fellow Manchester United legend Ferdinand reckons “no man on the planet” has earned a money-spinning transfer more than Ronaldo.

The former England centre-back is furious at claims it’s “sad” and a “disgrace” that Ron chose Saudi Arabia.

Ferdinand told his  Vibe with FIVE podcast: “Let a man go and live, let a man go and enjoy it.”

United terminated Ronaldo’s contract by mutual consent in mid-November after he slated the club in a TalkTV interview with Piers Morgan.

Now he’s agreed a 2.5-year playing deal with Al Nassr.

He’ll then reportedly become an ambassador for Saudi Arabia’s joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup with Egypt and Greece.

But Sky Sports pundits Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville were unhappy at the move.


Ex-Liverpool star Carragher said: “It’s a sad end for him, isn’t it.

“Ronaldo has finished his career with an interview with Piers Morgan and Messi has won the World Cup.”

And former United defender Neville added: “I felt as though he would want to stay in Europe. 

“It tells me that the offers are staggering and the clubs didn’t come in for him.

“There’s an element of sadness for me – (the) last of Ronaldo at the top level. It looks like Cristiano is finishing his career in Saudi.”

But Ferdinand told his podcast: “It was great to see David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard… 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.

“It’s a new adventure he (Ronaldo) is taking his family to experience a new culture.

“Every single country in the world has its issues, so America has got less issues than Saudi, have they?

“I don’t like it. It stinks we’re not hearing this type of talk. It’s out of order.”

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