Former Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand believes there are similarities between Amad Diallo and club legend Cristiano Ronaldo as he talked up the new Red Devils sensation.

United completed the signing of Diallo from Atalanta in January – the 18-year-old winger penning a four-and-half-year contract to be tied to the Premier League giants until June 2025.

While he only made five first-team appearances and scored once for Serie A outfit Atalanta, Diallo arrives in Manchester highly rated and as one of Europe's most exciting talents.

Ferdinand likened Diallo to five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo, who was lured to United from Portuguese powerhouse Sporting CP as a baby-faced 18-year-old in 2003 before going on to take the world by storm.

Juventus superstar Ronaldo won three Premier League titles and the Champions League among other honours at Old Trafford prior to his blockbuster move to Real Madrid, where he played between 2009 and 2018.

"We've just bought a kid in from Atalanta and hopefully he does something," Ferdinand said on Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE podcast after United reportedly spent £37million on Diallo.

"If you see his clips and speak to people at the club who are involved in buying him, potentially this kid could be a world-beater.

"That is the thought of Manchester United people that this kid is one they have unearthed.

"I don't want to put the pressure of Ronaldo on him, but no-one knew about Ronaldo when we bought him other than the people in Portugal.

"This kid seems similar in that sense and if you see his clips and the way people talk about him, the world is his oyster if he applies himself right."

Former Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand questioned Harry Maguire's captaincy credentials following his comments after the club's Premier League loss to Arsenal.

Maguire felt United were complacent in Sunday's 1-0 defeat at home to Arsenal, after the Red Devils had humbled last season's Champions League semi-finalists RB Leipzig 5-0 last week, having also upstaged runners-up Paris Saint-Germain in Group H.

United – who languish 15th in the league table – have collected just seven points from their six Premier League games this season, the team's lowest tally at this stage since David Moyes' short stint at the helm in 2013-14, while they are now winless in their past six league home games.

As a result of the defeat, United have failed to win any of their opening four top-flight games at Old Trafford for the first time since 1972-73, a campaign in which they finished 18th.

Ferdinand – a six-time Premier League champion and Champions League winner with United – called for skipper Maguire to show more leadership at Old Trafford.

"We're lacking confidence in certain areas. We gained a bit of confidence in midweek but do they get too overconfident?" he said via the Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE YouTube channel.

"I saw Harry Maguire and a couple of his comments after the game saying maybe they were patting each other on the back too much. Get a hold of that team - he's the captain.

"I hope he's getting in there and getting round people and telling people 'listen, we aren't the finished article, we've got loads to do, there is more from us to come, pull your socks up'.

"I don't know if that's going on. The captain of Man Utd. There's always been leaders in that changing room who would be going round and drilling people, either one-to-one or in front of the group. Pulling people aside, having little conversations to get people up, to make sure they stay on their game.

"I remember Nani, I didn't chat to him really, it was two or three words, 'assists and goals' or 'shoot on sight'. Boom, that's it. It doesn't need an essay of words. Sometimes it's short and sharp, punchy little things.

"Are these conversations going on? It isn't just for the management to deal with that, sometimes the players in that dressing room need to stand up and put it on people."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United travel to Istanbul Basaksehir for Wednesday's Champions League fixture.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks like he has already decided to pursue an Arsenal exit, according to Manchester United great Rio Ferdinand.

Having already inspired Arsenal's FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City, the Gabon international scored both goals as the Gunners came from behind to defeat rivals Chelsea 2-1 in Saturday's final at Wembley.

It capped a superb season for the club captain, who has scored 29 goals across all competitions and been prolific ever since signing from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018.

The future of Aubameyang has been intensely debated as he is out of contract in 12 months, with the Gunners not in next season's Champions League, though this win ensured they do at least reach the Europa League.

In an on-pitch interview prior to lifting the trophy, Aubameyang, 31, insisted he had nothing to say when asked to clarify his future.

Ferdinand felt the implication was clear.

"That says he is gone," the former Manchester United and England defender told BT Sport after Arsenal's record 14th FA Cup triumph. 

"[He said], 'I'm going to enjoy this moment with my team-mates and I don't want to talk about my future'.

"That says to me I just feel like either there have been no negotiations up to now, which I don't believe, or he has already decided he is going to go.

"I'm just talking about my perspective. If I am committed to the club and staying, this is a moment for me to get it sorted out [and say], 'It is not done yet but I am going to get it sorted out here guys'.

"He won't thank me for saying it, but he sounded like someone who is already looking to go elsewhere.

"Arsenal need to do all they can to get this guy to stay - 70 goals in 109 appearances says it all. And the way he finished [the second goal against Chelsea], Jesus, it was unbelievable."

Rio Ferdinand concedes he was unimpressed with Nemanja Vidic after his arrival at Manchester United and predicted with Wayne Rooney that the defender would not last long at Old Trafford.

Vidic and Ferdinand eventually went on to form a superb centre-back partnership over eight-and-a-half seasons, which helped United to five Premier League crowns and Champions League glory in 2008.

But Rooney and his fellow England international had immediate doubts when Alex Ferguson signed Vidic from Spartak Moscow in January 2006.

Ferdinand told United's website: "Never heard of him. I'll be totally honest, that was my reaction when I heard that we were signing Nemanja Vidic.

"At the time we had Mikael Silvestre and Wes Brown as our other centre-halves. The manager wanted competition for places, Wes had had a few injuries and Vida was a punt to bring that extra competition. 

"Liverpool were interested as well, Aston Villa and a few others, and then he signed for us.

"I had no idea what to expect from him, no preconceptions. When someone joins the club, you're quickly sussing them out and forming opinions.

"From what I was seeing in his early training sessions, Vida was struggling, especially physically. That wasn't just strength-wise, but breathing, too. The pace of the training sessions were just such a shift in what he'd been used to. It wasn't easy for him.

"I had a conversation with Wayne Rooney – a couple of times, actually – about both Vidic and Patrice Evra, who had joined at the same time. 

"We were both basically saying, 'Wow, how have we signed these two?' Wayne was playing against Vida in training and he was quite clear on Vida's issues: he wasn't strong enough, wasn't aggressive enough, just didn't seem like a Man United player.

"I remember thinking, 'He won't be here long. No chance he's gonna be here long'. Speaking to him since, I know now that back when he first signed, he was nervous. He was wondering, 'Have I made the right move?'

"It was so difficult for him. He was playing against Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Louis Saha every day. The standards expected of him had shot up massively overnight. We were judging him harshly, but he was judging himself harshly too."

Vidic improved various aspects of his game and quickly developed a close bond with Ferdinand around the United training ground as he settled into life at the club.

"He went away and worked very diligently on a lot of things," continued Ferdinand.

"He spent a lot more time in the gym, getting himself physically ready, preparing himself, conditioning himself for the right level so he could actually compete.

"Then there just came a point – I can't think of a specific day or date – when he was just competing. He just got accustomed to it over a period of time.

"The best word to describe the player Vida became is formidable. You could see strikers going up with him, thinking, 'Oh god, he's gonna smash me'. You could see fear in strikers. 

"He was someone who was horrible to play against. He'd go to head the ball and head you. Vida had the most bloody noses I've seen out of anybody I've ever played with.

"Even in his last game for United he walked off the pitch with a bloody nose and that just epitomised him! He was just fearless. He saw the ball, nothing else.

"After a season or two of playing with Vida, I knew that when I left United, I wanted to walk out of Old Trafford knowing we were considered the best partnership the club had ever had. That was something that drove me."

David Luiz deserved all the praise that came his way after Arsenal's stunning FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City, according to head coach Mikel Arteta.

The Brazilian's defensive qualities have been often questioned after a series of high-profile and costly mistakes, but he was masterful at Wembley as Arsenal earned a shock 2-0 victory.

He made 11 clearances, four interceptions and a crucial block to deny Raheem Sterling in the second half, with Opta statistics showing he also won all four of his aerial duels and touched the ball more times than any team-mate.

David Luiz was hailed after the game for his "fantastic" display by former England captain Rio Ferdinand, having formed a solid back-three alliance with Shkodran Mustafi and Kieran Tierney.

It was apt that the Brazilian should produce his very best against City, having been widely pilloried for his display when Arsenal took on the same opposition and lost 3-0 in the Premier League last month.

On that occasion, David Luiz came off the bench as an early substitute, blundered for City's first goal and was then sent off when giving away a second-half penalty.

"This is part of football. I didn't have any doubts about David Luiz's reaction. He put his hand up after that game [against City], but he didn't have to do that," Arteta said.

"We all make mistakes. The way he has been training, helping each other and performing, it's been phenomenal. I am delighted that people can see this side of him now as well, and praise him because he deserves that."

Arsenal surprised many in the game by handing David Luiz a new one-year contract just days after the 33-year-old's calamity of a performance at the Etihad Stadium.

"What he needs is that we trust him, that we have no doubts in what he can do. The best way to do that is to make him play," Arteta said.

"He's had some difficult moments but he's also had some incredible moments. Big athletes go through those moments – I'm happy he's playing at the level he is now.

"I want him to perform on the pitch. He's doing that again now in a really good way, I'm really happy for him today."

David Luiz dazzled in Arsenal's FA Cup semi-final win against Manchester City - delivering a performance hailed as "fantastic" by Rio Ferdinand and Robin van Persie.

Former England centre-back Ferdinand and ex-Arsenal striker Van Persie saw David Luiz produce a series of priceless tackles, blocks and interceptions in a 2-0 victory for the pre-game underdogs.

The Brazilian made 11 clearances, Opta statistics showed, and looked rock solid as he, Shkodran Mustafi and Kieran Tierney formed a resilient back three.

"He was the standout performer," Ferdinand told BT Sport. "Every cross that came into the box, he was the man on the end of it most of the time, heading and putting his body on the line.

"Defensively he didn't put a foot wrong. When he plays in a three at the back - he did it under [Antonio] Conte as well at Chelsea - he looks a much better player.

"You get the security of numbers in terms of having two other defenders immediately alongside you as a centre-back, and it decreases the space between you.

"So it is easier for him but you can't take anything away from him: he was fantastic today."

Ferdinand described defence as "the area where they've always let themselves down" and an "Achilles heel" for Arsenal in recent times.

If it was surprising that Arsenal should keep a clean sheet against a City side that beat them 3-0 in June, it was made more so by it being David Luiz setting the standards at the back - given his error-strewn showing in that previous encounter concluded with a red card.

Ferdinand said: "He's come in for a lot of criticism in the last couple of seasons and a lot of it rightly so at times. He's made a lot of mistakes and you get criticised for that. Today I think the way they set up helped him.

"Three centre-backs, they packed out the middle of the pitch, and they played with a defensive security. There was a stability about the way they played. They were composed defensively and they had a sharp edge on the counter-attack.

"When they went forward - minimal times over the course of the game because they were pushed back - they looked like a team who were very dangerous and capable of scoring and they got two very good goals."

Van Persie also found much to admire in David Luiz's game, having feared Arsenal faced "a tough evening".

"Tonight he put his body in front of the balls he was blocking," Van Persie said.

"I think he headed away maybe 25 balls tonight. He was absolutely fantastic."

Rio Ferdinand praised players such as Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford for driving social change but insisted more must be done to combat racism.

Sterling has been vocal on the issue of racism, particularly within English football, and the importance of greater representation for BAME communities within leadership roles.

Rashford won widespread praise for using his own social media platforms to drive a campaign forcing the United Kingdom government to make meal vouchers available to schoolchildren outside of term time.

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold has also stressed the need for greater equality within all levels of football, and former Manchester United captain Ferdinand has been impressed with their efforts.

However, the ex-England defender believes education and a centralised message is the only long-term solution to the problem of racism.

"The difference between their generation and our generation is they have a platform to speak. They have a platform and they know how to use it. Marcus is a great example of that, Trent is coming up behind to do that as well, and Raheem," he said on BT Sport.

"But the problem is it's not just these guys and the players who are going to make change. There needs to be a movement. It can't just be campaigns. We've seen far too often different charities, different organisations, doing fly-by campaigns – yes, their intentions are great, but they're not sustained, they don't make change over a long period of time.

"I believe education has to be the real foundation of that. It needs to be in the curriculum. These players, yes they have to be at the forefront, but next to them needs to be the broadcasters, the Premier League, the clubs, pushing out the same message so the next generation of young people aren't confused with each organisation having their own message here, their own message there.

"Every organisation will be ticking boxes and saying, 'we've done our bit'. But doing it on your own isn't good enough. It has to be a centralised unit they're working from. 

"A young kid is getting a message from that broadcaster, a Premier League team there, it all adds to the confusion. There are so many people who say, 'It's so much better than it was before, it's not as bad as it used to be'. That's not good enough."

Addressing fellow BT presenter Jake Humphrey, Ferdinand said: "You look at it as individuals. Is it better now? Are you getting stopped by police on a daily basis? Are you not being allowed into certain shops on a daily basis? Are you crossing the road because you're in fear of someone else feeling a little bit in fear of their own safety because of the colour of your skin? 

"All of those things are because of the colour of someone's skin. It leads me down the road to ask you the question: would you swap places with someone who is black, in today's society?"

Humphrey replied: "My honest answer would be 'No' because I know that my life would be harder, I know that if I was in America I'd be more likely to lose my life, I know that if I was here [in England] walking down the street, I'd be subject to racist abuse."

Ferdinand continued: "So when people say 'it's better than it was before', it isn't. It might not be as glaring, it might be more subconscious, the racism, but it's still racism.

"People are feeling marginalised. People are saying 'All Lives Matter' – I understand that, but black lives matter here and now because they feel marginalised. We feel opportunities aren't the same.

"So, there is a problem to be addressed, and I'm so happy that now these young players have got the strength, they feel they've got the support, the momentum at the moment, but this has to continue.

"I think there are going to be leaders in this and I think Raheem's one of them. But I think it has to be clear, that message. These players can't feel pressured into coming out and speaking; they need to be fully educated and then have that passion and desire to come out because the power of social media today means you can create movements and you can create change.

"Marcus Rashford is a fine example of that for these players going forward: if you've got a message and you push and you can execute properly, you can create change at a government level.

"If you're a young kid, he goes him and one of his parents or both or his uncle of friend of the family is very ignorant or racist, that kid isn't equipped with the education to go back to the parent and say 'woah, that isn't right'.

"But if you spoke to that kid about his team he supports and that ignorance was coming from a place of 'your team's rubbish' or 'the computer game you're on is not right', he would back himself to have a debate, a discussion, an argument with that family member to say 'no, actually, this is how it is'. It needs to be the same from the perspective of discrimination.

"When racism is spoken about, a lot of people think it's black people who have to march. I went to a march; it was a very mixed demographic. That was one of the most refreshing things to see.

"There are white people and people of different colours who think 'this is wrong and I'm going to stand side by side with my fellow black people and say this isn't right'. That's where football is as well.

"You need prominent players – Jordan Henderson has taken a big role and put himself out there – others have to follow that and stand side by side with their fellow pros to make sure there is change.

"I've been involved in many a moment that are here today, gone tomorrow. This feels like there's some sort of change and momentum coming."

Sven-Goran Eriksson believes his England starting XI was stronger than the current generation, but feels Gareth Southgate's overall squad is more impressive.

Eriksson became the first non-British manager to be appointed England boss when he left Lazio to take over in 2001, turning around their qualification campaign for the 2002 World Cup and securing a spot at the tournament in Japan and South Korea.

With the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Michael Owen, the Three Lions were fancied to make an impact.

But they were beaten by eventual champions Brazil in the last eight. Two years later they fell at the same hurdle in Euro 2004 to Portugal, who also sent England packing in Eriksson's final tournament in charge – the 2006 World Cup.

One of the main legacies of Eriksson's time in charge was a perceived inability to get the best out of England's so-called 'golden generation', but he thinks Southgate has more options at his disposal.

When asked if he feels the current England team was better than his, Eriksson told Stats Perform News: "Maybe not, but they have more choices today than we had.

"Number 20, number 21, the quality went down a bit. It's easier today, there are many hugely talented football players.

"They did well at the last World Cup, they will be even better in the next Euros. It's a new generation. They are young, they are good.

"They have a lot of quality all over. It looks like a very hungry team. They have a lot of pace and that's important.

"If you defend well, then you will be very strong in counterattacks and then, you have a born goalscorer [Harry Kane], and you need that man who can score [many] goals in a major tournament."

Recently, Eriksson was criticised by Ferdinand for apparently urging the former Manchester United centre-back to not play out from the back – but the Swede insists that was not the case.

"He was one of the best central defenders in the world, maybe the best, and as he rightly said, he could play," Eriksson added. "He was a very modern central defender. Football was different then.

"Everybody wants to play like Barcelona, but not everybody should. Not everyone can play like Ferdinand. But that back four was very, very strong.

"I always in all my career was very keen not to lose the ball when we have it in our own half of the pitch: you give opportunities to your opponents to create.

"If you're going to lose it, then do so up front, but if we could play in a secure way from behind, then do it, if not then don't make life difficult for us. But I never ever said don't play from the back."

Euro 2020 was due to start on Friday, but due to the coronavirus pandemic it was postponed for 12 months in March.

England will face Croatia, Czech Republic and as yet undetermined third team, who will be decided by the qualification play-off, when the tournament takes place from June 11, 2021.

Rio Ferdinand is baffled how Paul Pogba is still being blamed for Manchester United's issues despite missing most of the season through injury and urged ex-professionals not to "beat him with a stick" just because he is different.

For much of Pogba's second spell at Old Trafford, the France international has polarised opinion among supporters and pundits – with few doubting his ability, but many suggesting he should be decisive on a more consistent basis.

Pogba cost United a reported £89million when he returned from Juventus in 2016, but many former players claim he has not shown enough for that to be considered a good deal, with Roy Keane and Graeme Souness two notably prominent – and frequent – detractors.

He hit back at Souness earlier this month, claiming he did not even know who the Liverpool icon was, prompting the Scot to swipe back with a jibe that urged World Cup-winner Pogba to "put his medals on the table".

And Ferdinand, a former team-mate of Pogba's at United, finds it astonishing the 27-year-old has still attracted a lot of flak this term in spite of making just seven Premier League appearances.

"A lot of it is from social media – a lot of what they say stems from his social media presence and a lot of those guys are old school," Ferdinand said on his official YouTube channel.

"[Ex-pros] want people to follow suit of those before them, they want people to be serious about the game, not broadcasting stuff on social media. He's injured, going to a wedding and dancing, in the changing room and dancing – this is Pogba, that's his life, the way he is.

"You can't beat him with a stick because that's his personality, he's different. This generation of player is different to my generation and even more different to the likes of Keane and Souness. The landscape has changed so much that we can't expect them to behave the way we did.

"Pogba doesn't drink, he's not a nightclub merchant, but he goes on social media. What's worse? Because the people we were talking about before, like myself, would be in a nightclub, or drinking at times, but he doesn't do that.

"But he's still being vilified for being present, happy. And that's a big thing – he's being happy while injured. I don't agree with that [criticism] – mental health is a big issue, if you can't be yourself in your downtime while injured… What do people expect? You to sit around and be depressed?

"To keep on absolutely pounding him with blame and bringing his name into the conversation right now in such a negative way. He's played seven [Premier League] games this season, and he's the focal point as to why United aren't doing so well. How does that happen, how is he to blame?"

Ferdinand feels Pogba might have expected more from himself since re-joining, though he does not think the midfielder has been helped by the state of United's recruitment and planning.

"I've said on multiple occasions, he's a very honest guy and he will have expected more in himself," he added. "But when you actually look at his stats in the squad in the last four seasons played, he's at the top in terms of passing, chances created, assists, ball retention – he's the catalyst pushing the team on when fully fit.

"Has he been the Pogba we come to expect on a consistent basis when he's a £90m transfer? I'd argue he probably hasn't been as consistent as you'd like, but this has been a squad in absolute transition and has had multiple managers.

"If you spend £90m in a certain part of your business, you'd probably make that the jewel in your crown, but I don't think that's happened with Pogba."

Harry Kane is unlikely to join Manchester United because Jose Mourinho would not allow Tottenham to sell their star striker to the Red Devils, says Rio Ferdinand.

There has been growing speculation England captain Kane will be open to the idea of departing Spurs if the club do not realise his ambition of winning major trophies.

It is thought Spurs would want at least £150million for their talisman, with United having been touted as a possible destination for Kane.

But Ferdinand doubts former Red Devils boss Mourinho, now in charge at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, would allow a deal to happen.

"Would I take Harry Kane now? Of course you would," former United centre-back Ferdinand said on Instagram Live.

"If he's fit and he's raring to go, you take Harry Kane at Man Utd, 100 per cent.

"Top player, you're guaranteeing goals, in the Premier League you're guaranteeing goals.

"This geezer scores goals but I don't see Tottenham letting Harry Kane go.

"And with Mourinho there, I don't see Mourinho letting him go to Man Utd."

United are also thought to be among the clubs chasing a big-money deal for Kane's England team-mate Jadon Sancho.

The former Manchester City forward has been a sensation for Borussia Dortmund and Ferdinand would love to see Sancho gracing the Old Trafford turf.

"I would take Sancho all day, to Man Utd," Ferdinand said. "Whether we'll get him, though [who knows?].

"Great player, great potential, English, he's brilliant. I would take Sancho now."

While Sanco is being tipped to leave Signal Iduna Park, Birmingham City's highly sought-after teenager midfielder Jude Bellingham could be on his way to Dortmund.

United are another club said to be in the hunt for Bellingham, who turns 17 in June, and Ferdinand says while a reported price tag of £30million appears excessive, the club should take a gamble on the prodigious talent.

"Jude Bellingham, huge talent, huge talent, really good-looking footballer in the way he plays, the balance he's got, the maturity at such a young age," Ferdinand said.

"I want to see more but the price tag is phenomenal. £30million odd for a kid, for a 16-year-old boy, it's unbelievable.

"But it's the way of the world now and the way you've got to think about it, if you're paying £30m, if we keep him for 10 years it's money well spent.

"It's a gamble, it's an expensive gamble, but for the kid to be playing in the Championship and doing what he's doing and looking the player he is, it's a gamble but a calculated one.

"I think he's someone I would 100 per cent take. If I'm Man United now, go in and get him."

Manchester United must resist the urge to place too much importance on Mason Greenwood so early in his career because to do so could have lasting negative results similar to those suffered by Michael Owen, according to Rio Ferdinand.

Greenwood broke into the United first-team squad last season and made three appearances, including a debut start in the defeat to Cardiff City on the final day.

His role in the squad unsurprisingly increased this term after the departure of Romelu Lukaku, with the 18-year-old making 32 appearances across all competitions.

A recent injury to Marcus Rashford means he could find himself a more regular starter in the final months of the season, but former United captain Ferdinand is concerned over-reliance on Greenwood too early could see him suffering a decline like Owen.

Former Liverpool, Real Madrid and United striker Owen came through the academy at Anfield in the 1990s and became a superstar as a teenager, then winning the Ballon d'Or in 2001, but he was ravaged by injuries and fitness issues later in his career.

Speaking at the launch of BT's 4-3-3 Home Nations campaign, Ferdinand said: "The kid [Greenwood] is a fantastic goal-scorer.

"All through the youth levels as a kid, he's always found it easy scoring goals. He plays off both feet – he's a fantastic talent, but he needs to be nurtured correctly.

"You can't expect him to come in and play every game just because there's an injury to Marcus and then put it all on his shoulders.

"A good yardstick is to look at someone like Michael Owen. He came through as a 'boy wonder', huge expectations [on him] and he played far too many games from a young age.

"I think that was a big factor in him having big injuries later on in his career, slowing him down. That's something to look at, to make sure we don't have the same mistake with Mason - nurture him the right way."

Ferdinand is also concerned about Greenwood potentially being under too much pressure at United, particularly if he does take on a more important role with Rashford injured and Anthony Martial failing to convince in a central role.

"It [coping with the pressure] is difficult if he's got no one around him with the experience to guide him," Ferdinand continued.

"You just hope he's got players or staff in there that can help him and guide him through that period and allow him to understand the pressure isn't [on] him. He's too young.

"There's other players in there that can take on that pressure on their shoulders and are experienced enough to do that. It's up to other people to do that."

 

BT's 4-3-3 Home Nations strategy will use the power of football and technology to release the potential of para and disability, grassroots, and women's football communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Rio Ferdinand slammed Manchester United's direction following the "embarrassing" Premier League loss to Burnley at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Goals from Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez condemned a woeful United side to a deflating 2-0 home defeat in Marcus Rashford's absence.

The result left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men six points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea and some 30 points behind leaders Liverpool, who beat them 2-0 at Anfield three days earlier.

Ferdinand, a vocal supporter when Solskjaer was named manager on a full-time basis in March, admitted the Norwegian deserves scrutiny and was scathing in his assessment of the club's transfer market moves since Alex Ferguson's retirement.

"I have played with Ole, he is an ex-team-mate of mine, but the results have not been good enough," the former Red Devils defender told BT Sport.

"He has had some key players get injured but, with the big amount of money spent on this squad, you would expect more in reserve.

"You look at some of the players that have come in – [Marcos] Rojo, [Radamel] Falcao, [Marouane] Fellaini, [Morgan] Schneiderlin, [Memphis] Depay – were these players ever Manchester United players, really?

"Who is buying these players? The manager coming in who wanted them for now, or the club buying for now but also future-proofing?

"£600m roughly has been spent on this squad and the most impressive players this season have been the homegrown talent. That speaks volumes about the recruitment. It tells you how shoddy it has been.

"Look at Liverpool, they buy the best players to fit in their system. It is not a short-term fix. Total opposite end of the scale here."

United have now won just two of their past seven matches in all competitions, and the mood at Old Trafford was summed up by the sight of supporters pouring through the exits before full-time.

"I'm embarrassed. It's embarrassing to be here," Ferdinand continued.

"Not just about the team performing, I don't see what's coming next, I don't see a pathway, I don't see a target being set on the wall and saying we're going to get to that and this is how we're going to get there."

Cristiano Ronaldo says he would have been "an imbecile" if he failed to learn from the likes of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs during his early days at Manchester United.

The Portugal international made his name at Old Trafford after joining the Premier League club from Sporting CP in 2003 at the age of 18.

He scored 118 goals in six seasons with United and has since starred for Real Madrid and current side Juventus, recently netting his 700th career goal for club and country.

When asked how he developed into such a prolific forward, Ronaldo told France Football: "By using my brain. If you've got a little intelligence, you look and take example from those who are doing things better than you. 

"That's what I did when I was in Manchester with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Rio Ferdinand… if you don't learn from guys like that, you're an imbecile. 

"The goal isn't to imitate but to take aspects from those who are the best and adapt it to your own personality. That's what I did. I had some talent and I watched them.

"Sir Alex Ferguson also taught me a lot, and I realised I had the potential to score, not only dribble and pass. I started to think of being a complete player without any weakness.

"I could score with my right foot, my left foot and my head. I'm strong and I'm quick. If you have this and a real ethic and a good lifestyle, you can still do it at 34-and-a-half."

Ronaldo has won five Ballons d'Or and has been shortlisted for this year's award after an impressive debut campaign in Serie A with Juve.

Now into his 18th campaign at senior level, the Portuguese remains as driven as ever to remain at the top of his game.

Reflecting on Juve's 2-1 comeback win at home to Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League last week, Ronaldo said: "They refused to play and parked the bus in front of their goal.

"It was hard to score. I didn't do it and I was frustrated at the end. That's normal. The most important thing is that the team wins.

"But when I went back to the dressing room, I chilled out. After the match, I went to dinner with friends. I got home at four in the morning. I had a glass of iced water before bed. I slept until 10 then I had my breakfast.

"At 11, I went to work in the gym. If you don't have that discipline every day, you can't stay at the top for 15 years."

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