Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand criticised some “kamikaze football” after their embarrassing exit from European competition.

A 1-0 defeat at home to Bayern Munich, their 15th goal conceded in six matches, ensured Erik ten Hag’s side finished bottom of Group A even without Copenhagen’s win over Galatasaray.

“To score three goals in each of their away games and not come away with much points it’s criminal. It is kamikaze football almost,” Ferdinand told TNT Sports.

“You get what you deserve. If you are not clinical and you can’t close matches out you don’t deserve to progress to the knockout phase.

“I think it’s the best worst-case scenario. I would rather Man United go out and concentrate on the league than go into the Europa League and exert themselves more.”

Ex-United midfielder Paul Scholes was disappointed with the team’s lack of a goal threat in a match they needed to win after scoring 12 times in their previous five matches.

“In some games they looked very good, they were getting leads in games, but they couldn’t manage to see the games out,” said Scholes.

“Tonight you never really felt Mancester United were going to score goals. It’s all about getting the balance right and it’s been a struggle from the off.”

A football fan has been convicted of racially abusing Rio Ferdinand at a Premier League match.

Jamie Arnold hurled racist remarks and hand gestures at the former England defender, who was working as a pundit for BT Sport during the match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United on May 23 2021.

The 33-year-old had denied a racially aggravated public order offence but was unanimously convicted on Wednesday following a two-day trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court and will be sentenced on December 8, West Midlands Police said.

Pc Stuart Ward, the UK’s first dedicated hate crime officer within a football unit for West Midlands Police, said: “Abusing anyone for the colour of their skin is disgusting and can never, ever be condoned.

“Arnold is old enough to know such appalling behaviour is inexcusable and certainly won’t be tolerated.

“I know from personal experience how being a victim of racism hurts while offenders risk their own aspirations through getting a criminal record.

“I would like to thank Rio for his assistance in this investigation.

“Through his support, we’ve ensured a man has this conviction to his name.”

Arnold, of Stone, Staffordshire, was arrested at the scene following the offence, which occurred during the first game played at Molineux with fans present since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Crown Prosecution Service said he was caught making racist gestures on CCTV and was seen by several witnesses in the stands.

Mr Ferdinand told a previous trial that he did not see the gestures made by Arnold, but had noted one fan’s “more aggressive body language”.

Arnold was previously banned from games for three years after being found guilty of homophobic abuse and making gestures which mimicked disability during the same game.

He was also ordered to pay almost £900 in fines and court costs, West Midlands Police said.

A spokesman for campaign organisation Kick It Out said: “Kick It Out welcomes the guilty verdict handed to Arnold today.

“It is imperative that perpetrators of discriminatory abuse are held to account for their actions and we hope this result sends a strong statement that racism has no place in our society.

“We commend the CPS and West Midlands Police for their work securing justice in this case and would urge authorities across the country to take similar incidents of discriminatory abuse just as seriously.

“We continue to work with partners across football to tackle discriminatory abuse as it happens and to ensure that victims receive the support they need.

“We would encourage anyone who witnesses discrimination of any sort in future to report it directly to us at Kick It Out.”

A star-studded panel of Europe-based legends will be urged to "protect the game of football" by giving expert insight into hot topics including VAR and handball at a UEFA summit on Monday.

Coaches including Jose Mourinho, Fabio Capello, Zinedine Zidane, Carlo Ancelotti, Gareth Southgate and Fabio Capello have joined the 24-man UEFA football board, along with superstar former players Paolo Maldini, Luis Figo, Gareth Bale, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Laudrup, Philipp Lahm and Robbie Keane.

There is one non-European on the board, with Inter's Argentine vice-president Javier Zanetti joining a throng that also includes former Germany team-mates Rudi Voller and Jurgen Klinsmann, plus Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman, Rafael Benitez, Patrick Vieira and Eric Abidal.

The noticeably all-male board will hold its first meeting at UEFA's European House of Football headquarters on Monday.

European football's governing body said the group will "give an institutional yet independent voice of experience and expertise on fundamental football-related topics".

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: "UEFA is delighted to see that the very ones who have shaped the game's history with their talents and philosophy through decades are gathered again around our common goal – to protect the game of football and its essential values. As we always say: football first!"

Ceferin is campaigning for clarity on football's handball rules, having recently described the law as "really obscure".

"No one understands it any more," Ceferin said. "So we really need a conversation here, finding solutions and clarifying some issues."

He said that would be an issue for the football board to look at, and it was confirmed on Thursday as being on the agenda for the meeting, along with discussions about the video assistant referee system, player behaviour and medical issues.

UEFA said its technical director and chief of football Zvonimir Boban would chair Monday's meeting, although he is not a member of the new board.

UEFA football board members: Jose Mourinho (Portugal), Carlo Ancelotti (Italy), Zinedine Zidane (France), Paolo Maldini (Italy), Fabio Capello (Italy), Javier Zanetti (Argentina), Luis Figo (Portugal), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Ronald Koeman (Netherlands), Gareth Southgate (England), Rio Ferdinand (England), Michael Laudrup (Denmark), Rafael Benitez (Spain), Roberto Martinez (Spain)
Predrag Mijatovic (Montenegro), Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany), Rudi Voller (Germany), Petr Cech (Czech Republic), Juan Mata (Spain), Robbie Keane (Republic of Ireland), Patrick Vieira (France), Henrik Larsson (Sweden), Eric Abidal (France), Gareth Bale (Wales).

Virgil van Dijk may have struggled for Liverpool this season but Jamie Carragher says no centre-back in the Premier League has ever had a greater impact on their team.

Carragher jumped to the defence of the Reds centre-back on Twitter, suggesting Van Dijk was far better than former Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic and had performed on the same level as Kevin De Bruyne in recent years.

That came after Liverpool's entertaining 2-2 draw with Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday, when Jurgen Klopp's defence left much to be desired as Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus fired in the first half.

Van Dijk's performances have repeatedly been questioned this season, with Carragher delivering a scathing assessment of the defender after Liverpool's 5-2 Champions League home thrashing by Real Madrid in February.

While former Reds captain Carragher acknowledged the disappointing nature of the Netherlands international's season, he believes no centre-back comes close to Van Dijk in the Premier League era.

Responding to another tweet criticising Van Dijk's form, Carragher wrote: "VVD [Van Dijk] is far better than Vidic, who was a top CB [centre-back], but have you forgot [Vidic's] performances against [Liverpool's Fernando] Torres?

"Rio [Ferdinand] and JT [John Terry] had poor seasons in their career like all players, VVD is having one now. No CB in the PL era has ever had VVD's impact on a team."

Seemingly irked by football followers questioning Van Dijk, Carragher doubled down on his defence of the 31-year-old, likening his impact on the Premier League to City's De Bruyne.

"Never mind the best CB in the league, he's been the best player in the league along with KDB [De Bruyne] for four years before this one," Carragher added.

"We have never spoken about other CBs being the best player before, that shows the level he was at."

When questioned on the topic of impact, with Vidic's five Premier League titles, one Champions League and three EFL Cups at Manchester United put to him, Carragher insisted Van Dijk still reigns supreme.

"If you or anyone thinks Vidic is better than VVD you're not watching the same game! He's miles better!!"

Rio Ferdinand was "delighted" to be named among 15 nominees for the Premier League Hall of Fame.

Introduced in 2021, the Hall of Fame has inducted eight players in each of the past two years, adding managerial greats Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger on Wednesday.

Voting for the latest round of player inductees has begun, with greats nominated from across the last 30 years of the Premier League.

The 2023 class of inductees is dominated by defenders, including former Arsenal captain Tony Adams, ex-Chelsea skipper John Terry and Manchester United stalwarts Ferdinand and Gary Neville.

Former Chelsea and Arsenal duo Petr Cech and Ashley Cole are also nominated, along with ex-United defender Nemanja Vidic.

Midfielders Michael Carrick and Yaya Toure represent both sides of Manchester, with strikers Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen completing the list.

Ferdinand wrote on Twitter: "Delighted to be nominated again on the #PLHallOfFame. Few decent CBs [centre-backs] listed on the nominees."

The former England captain will be hoping it is third time lucky, having also been among the nominees in 2021 and 2022.

Fans can vote for three players they believe should be inducted, with voting open until 6pm BST on Monday, April 10.

Only three players will take their place among the greats this time around.

The shortlist has been reduced from 25 names previously to 15 and players are only eligible if their retirement was confirmed before 1 January 2023.

In order to be eligible, players must have made at least 250 Premier League appearances or made 200 league appearances for a single club, been selected in any Team of the Decade or 20-year Anniversary teams, won a Golden Boot or Golden Glove, been voted Player of the Season, won three titles or scored 100 goals or registered 100 clean sheets.

2023 nominees: Tony Adams, Sol Campbell, Michael Carrick, Petr Cech, Andy Cole, Ashley Cole, Jermain Defoe, Les Ferdinand, Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler, Gary Neville, Michael Owen, John Terry, Yaya Toure, Nemanja Vidic.

Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United are "closing the gap slightly" on Manchester City following their dramatic derby win, but feels the gulf between the clubs is "still huge".

United came from behind to take the derby spoils after a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford, where Jack Grealish's header was cancelled out by a quickfire double from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford.

Erik ten Hag's side closed the gap on their second-placed neighbours to a single point, where they are now just six behind leaders Arsenal.

Ferdinand, who won six Premier League titles and the Champions League with United, believes his former club still have a long way to go before matching their rivals, however.

"They're closing the gap slightly, but there's still a major way to go," Ferdinand said in his role as a BT Sport pundit. "I think the gulf between the clubs is still huge.

"Don't let this result take that away or let things become unrealistic. Man United have still got a way to go, but they're on the right road now. I felt something in this ground today that I haven't felt for a very long time.

"There was a belief, there was a connection between the players on the pitch and the fans again, because there's a committed team out there who are willing to fight, who won't fold under pressure, who won't fold when there's a bad spell in the game.

"That can only be good for the future of this team. The manager has to have huge compliments right now because he's building a team that are up for the fight."

Meanwhile, Paul Scholes – an 11-time Premier League winner at Old Trafford – feels United demonstrated their title credentials, but he knows the most important stage of the season is still to come.

"We've learned that United can beat a big team when the pressure is on, when they needed to," he said. "You asked before if they're in the title race – I think you have to say they are.

"If they keep people fit, they're one point behind City now. City, to me, are still the favourites, they're still the best team in this league. It's okay winning games now, but it's March, April time when it's so hard to win those games.

"Arsenal are doing really well, they look a really good team. Injuries could affect them, and they're inexperienced. They've got a manager who hasn't won a league title, players who haven't won trophies really.

"There are 20, 21 games to go. There's so far to go – this could change by February."

Rio Ferdinand has advised Harry Maguire to leave Manchester United due to a perceived lack of respect shown to him by Erik ten Hag since returning from the World Cup.

The England international has just six starts across all competitions this season, including just one in five matches since returning to action after the World Cup.

Ten Hag has instead opted to utilise left-back Luke Shaw out of position in the heart of defence, amid speculation Maguire is attracting transfer interest from Aston Villa.

Ferdinand believes an exit should be the priority for Maguire in the mid-season window as he expects the limited opportunities to continue.

"If you're [Maguire], you have to leave now. Luke Shaw’s playing centre-back instead of him," Ferdinand said on his YouTube channel, Vibe With Five.

"That's like me going back after the World Cup, playing well, everyone saying he's done really well, and Patrice Evra is playing centre-back.

"I'd want to strangle Patrice! I would've smashed Patrice in training to make sure he's not available, and I'd be going to the manager and saying, 'are you taking the p*** out of me, boss?'.

"I'd have walked straight into the manager's office and said, 'you're disrespecting me'. Harry Maguire's got to move.

"I think he stays because of the games, and they can’t get someone else in. He plays in the cup games."

United host Charlton Athletic in the EFL Cup on Tuesday ahead of a huge clash against arch-rivals Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag was not interested in revisiting the drama around Cristiano Ronaldo after the striker completed his move to Al Nassr.

The 37-year-old left United in November when the two parties agreed to terminate his contract following a very public disintegration in their relationship that began at the end of last season.

Ronaldo did not go on United's pre-season tour owing to personal reasons, a situation accompanied by widespread reports of the Portugal great wanting to leave.

When Ronaldo did eventually report to pre-season training, he and several team-mates left Old Trafford before the end of the friendly with Rayo Vallecano, conduct Ten Hag described as "unacceptable" from all involved.

Ronaldo was then dropped from the squad entirely for the October clash with Chelsea after he refused to come on as a late substitute against Tottenham, but the final straw came a few weeks later when he took part in a remarkable interview with Piers Morgan, taking the opportunity to publicly criticise the club and Ten Hag.

That unsurprisingly led to his contract termination and Ronaldo finally signed a reported two-and-a-half-year deal with Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr on Friday, but Ten Hag simply refused to talk about his former player after Saturday's 1-0 win over Wolves.

"I don't talk about the past, let's talk about the future," Ten Hag told reporters.

"We made a good step today. First time we are in the top four, but it means nothing because it is a long way to go.

"We have to live from game to game, get in the position to win something."

Ronaldo may have been the first to draw the wrath of Ten Hag at United this season, though he was certainly not the last.

Marcus Rashford found himself benched for the trip to Molineux after missing the start of a team meeting due to oversleeping.

The England forward came on for the second half and scored United's winning goal, with the narrative ultimately reflecting quite well on both Ten Hag and Rashford, the former for his decisive leadership, and the latter for his response.

United defender Luke Shaw was keen to salute the manager's commitment to discipline, suggesting it was a departure from some of his predecessors.

"At a top club like this, it has to be like that," he told BT Sport. "I think that people can't do whatever they want and maybe that's been part of the problem in the past, with people getting away with silly little things.

"The manager takes all of that into consideration. Like you've seen today, if you're not keeping the standards high then you won't play."

United's victory ensured they will end 2022 fourth in the Premier League, just two points behind Newcastle United, after climbing above Tottenham.

Rio Ferdinand thinks Harry Maguire should be looking to leave Manchester United in January.

The Red Devils defender has made only three Premier League starts this season, with Luke Shaw preferred to him at centre-back in the wins over Nottingham Forest and Wolves following the World Cup.

Maguire was impressive for his country in Qatar, but remains out of favour with United boss Erik ten Hag

Former United defender Ferdinand believes the former Leicester City man needs a new challenge.

"If I'm Harry Maguire, I'd be looking for a new club right now," he told BT Sport. "You've seen what he's done with England, he's [been] impeccable.

"He's faultless for them, the way he plays. He puts in good, solid performances. [But] at Manchester United, it hasn't worked out for him.

"This new manager, by his team selection, has shown him he is not going to be one or the top two or three centre-backs in his squad."

Maguire has struggled with illness since returning from England duty, but came off the bench against Wolves and Forest.

Lisandro Martinez will be expected to be restored to the team when he returns following Argentina's World Cup triumph, while Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof have both been given more opportunities than Maguire.

Rio Ferdinand is adamant there is nothing "sad" about Cristiano Ronaldo's move to Al Nassr, insisting his former Manchester United team-mate is "finally happy".

Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d'Or winner, completed his move to Saudi Pro League side Al Nassr on Friday.

The 37-year-old forward, one of the greats of the modern era, reportedly signed a two-and-a-half-year deal after joining on a free transfer following his departure from United in November.

Ferdinand, who played with Ronaldo at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009, accepts the manner of his exit from the Red Devils left a lot to be desired, but believes his move to Saudi Arabia should be celebrated.

"Obviously I speak to Cristiano and there's things you have to keep quiet and you can't talk about before it hits the news," he told BT Sport.

"I was kind of aware what was going on behind the scenes and I'm just pleased for him that he's finally happy.

"For any footballer at whatever level, happiness and the environment you're playing in is one of the most important things.

"He hasn't been happy for a while so I'm pleased he's on the verge of finding that happiness and going onto pastures news, albeit in a country that not many people expected him to go.

"But what an adventure, what a prospect that is, to go and play football in a brand new league, a competitive league by the way.

"I've been watching the media and people saying it's sad, a sad way for him to go out.

"There's only two sad things for me: the way it ended at Man Utd, I'm sad about that. In a couple of years, he'll look back and think it could've been handled differently from both himself and the club.

"That's one sadness because you want it to end in the best way possible and things be remembered positively but it won't be in some people's eyes, that's a tinge of sadness.

"The way the World Cup ended for him, a tinge of sadness, in terms of being on the bench, not having a huge impact in his last one, that's a tinge of sadness.

"But this next chapter going to Saudi Arabia, how do you look at that as a sadness? A sad way to end his career? I don't understand how people are saying that."

Rio Ferdinand believes England manager Gareth Southgate "came up short" with his substitutions in the 2-1 World Cup quarter-final defeat to France.

Harry Kane missed a late penalty as England tumbled out of the tournament in Qatar, with goals from Aurelien Tchouameni and Olivier Giroud sending France through to a semi-final against Morocco on Wednesday.

With England chasing Saturday's game late on, Southgate decided to bring on Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling for Jordan Henderson and Bukayo Saka with just over 10 minutes to play.

He then took off Phil Foden for Marcus Rashford in the 85th minute, while Jack Grealish came on deep into stoppage time as England desperately tried to get back in the contest.

Those attempts ultimately ended up fruitless as England suffered fresh tournament heartbreak, having lost the Euro 2020 final on penalties to Italy last year.

Former defender Ferdinand, who won 81 caps for England between 1997 and 2011, feels Southgate's reluctance to make alterations cost England a semi-final spot.

"Our [England's] substitutions is where I think Gareth Southgate let us down," Ferdinand said on his YouTube show Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE.

"I think he's been pitch-perfect, touch-perfect in almost every decision he's made up to this point, but you get into a game like yesterday where this is really where it matters now, and I think Gareth Southgate came up short in the tactical element in terms of substitutions.

"Gareth, in the moment, wasn't proactive with his substitutions, he was reactive.

"It hit 1-1 and we're sitting there going, 'Take the bull by the horns, make a substitution, get us on the front foot'. You've got Rashford, you've got Grealish who can go on, get us on the front foot and change this game.

"You're sitting there going, 'It's too late, man'. You've got to do this when we've got the chance of still winning this game and taking the game from them."

After another tough tournament exit, there are many questions over whether Southgate will continue in his role, with the manager himself unsure for now.

But Ferdinand expects Southgate will stay on, saying: "I think, if I am Gareth Southgate, I cannot leave this story.

"This story hasn't had an ending yet that works for me, if I'm Gareth Southgate."

Rio Ferdinand has suggested David Beckham is setting up a consortium to buy former club Manchester United from the Glazer family.

United's American owners confirmed on Tuesday they are exploring the possibility of selling some or all of their shareholding after 17 years at the helm.

Supporters of the Premier League club have long called for the Glazers to sell up due to what they perceive to be a lack of direction and on-field success over the past decade.

United are valued by Forbes at $4.6billion (£3.8bn), which would surpass the £4.25bn Todd Boehly paid to purchase Chelsea as the most lucrative takeover in sporting history.

A number of interested parties are reportedly weighing up an offer, with bids from mega-rich backers in Saudi Arabia an option that has been touted.

According to former defender Ferdinand, fellow United great Beckham – who is a co-owner of MLS side Inter Miami – is among those interested in buying out the Glazers.

"Becks will come with a consortium. I saw Becks at the [England v USA] game; we were sat next to each other," Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five YouTube show.

"When you mention someone like Becks' name, he's obviously a part-owner of Inter Miami, but he doesn't come [alone]. It's not his money. 

"He comes with a consortium. He comes with people who do have deep pockets who have the ability to go and execute on a deal like that.

"That's the way he'll be approaching it, and rightly so. I think it's going to come down to a number. If you've got the number and can produce, that's what it's going to be about."

Having a member of United's Class of '92 working in a boardroom position would undoubtedly appease supporters, who have repeatedly protested for the Glazers to step aside.

Beckham spent 11 years with United's senior side after emerging through their youth ranks, winning the Premier League six times and the Champions League in 1999.

Asked if he would like to see Beckham involved in the ownership, Ferdinand said: "Yeah. Clubs that are successful over big periods of time have players that have worn the shirt.

"They understand the traditions, understand the history, understand the ethos of the football club and continue that.

"Ajax with Edwin van der Sar, Bayern Munich have [Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge in there among others, Real Madrid, Barca – they all do it. 

"They've all got players who have been in and around the football club at some point in their life and they're back in there working at the club because they understand it."

Rio Ferdinand believes both Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United will be delighted after they announced they were parting ways on Tuesday.

The decision comes after Ronaldo's bombshell exclusive interview with Piers Morgan, in which he said he felt betrayed by senior figures at the club and claimed he had no respect for manager Erik ten Hag.

United responded by saying they had "initiated appropriate steps", and on Tuesday revealed the five-time Ballon d'Or winner and the club had gone separate ways by mutual agreement.

Ronaldo released a statement of his own saying it was "the right time to seek a new challenge", and Ferdinand, a United legend and former team-mate of Ronaldo, says both sides will be satisfied.

Speaking on the BBC's World Cup coverage, Ferdinand declared: "I think both parties will be delighted now.

"He obviously has done that interview with the mindset that he wanted to get out of the football club, [he] wasn't happy, [and] made it very clear.

"But I also think Erik ten Hag has got what he wanted from this situation as well. So both parties are happy."

Wayne Rooney, who himself received a swipe from Ronaldo in the interview, agreed it was time for the 37-year-old to depart Old Trafford.

"I think it's sad, sad to see one of the best players of all time, a former team-mate and friend go away," Rooney told Sports18.

"The club had no option and it has to happen. It's a shame, I wish him the best for wherever he goes.

"I still felt that he had a part to play at United, he wanted to continue his career elsewhere. It's probably the best for both parties."

Cristiano Ronaldo's "emotional reaction" in Manchester United's win over Tottenham should have been prevented by Erik ten Hag, according to Rio Ferdinand.

Portugal great Ronaldo reportedly refused to come on as a late substitute in the 2-0 win at Old Trafford and was omitted from the squad that drew 1-1 at Chelsea on Saturday, while he was not allowed to train with the first team.

It marked another twist in a long-running saga involving Ronaldo, who attempted to depart United for a second time in the close season after the club failed to secure Champions League qualification.

Having had a disrupted pre-season, Ronaldo has also found game time difficult to come by under Ten Hag, with only two of his six starts this campaign coming in the Premier League.

Ferdinand, a former team-mate of Ronaldo's at United, acknowledged the superstar forward was in the wrong for leaving early but believes Ten Hag should have handled the situation better.

"I'm not sitting here saying [Ronaldo] was right to do that. His actions are wrong but if you look at the bigger picture, this could have been prevented. As a manager, that's your duty – you've got to look at the bigger picture," Ferdinand said on his podcast FIVE.

"Before every game, Sir Alex Ferguson came to the table and explained to you what was going on. He'd go: ''Listen, you're not going to play the next two games but there's a third game up the road that's made for you and you're going to play'. 

"So, you don't get them emotional reactions next week when you're not playing. Just looking at the bigger picture down the line, so there's no surprises. When you get a bad surprise, the emotion takes over and you get these types of reactions."

Ferdinand feels Ten Hag could have resolved any bubbling tension before it got to the point it did against Tottenham last Wednesday.

"Erik ten Hag's reaction is the way that you'd want to see it as a fan. My pushback on that is that I don't think he should've allowed it to get to that point," he added.

"You have to have the conversation and talk to Ronaldo – who, all his career, has mapped out season after season. 

"Looking at the bigger picture, so he can prepare himself. At 37 years old, he probably needs that more now than ever in his career."

United are back in action against Sheriff in the Europa League on Thursday before hosting West Ham at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo's refusal to come on for Manchester United against Tottenham was wrong, but Erik ten Hag is to blame for the Portuguese striker's awkward situation, according to Rio Ferdinand.

Ronaldo walked down the tunnel before full-time in Wednesday's 2-0 win over Tottenham, a game in which United produced arguably their finest performance in more than a year.

Ten Hag vowed to "deal with" Ronaldo the following day and United subsequently released a statement confirming the 37-year-old was to be dropped for Saturday's trip to Chelsea as a consequence of his behaviour.

Around a similar time, media reports suggested Ronaldo also refused to come on against Spurs, with Ten Hag confirming that to be the case in Friday's pre-match press conference.

It was the latest example of Ronaldo's future being called into question under Ten Hag; he did not go on United's pre-season tour for personal reasons shortly after it was claimed he wanted to leave for Champions League football, and then he was one of several players to leave Old Trafford early during a friendly against Rayo Vallecano.

The Portugal forward has also routinely looked off the pace when used by Ten Hag this term, yet his former United colleague Ferdinand – who considers himself a "mate" of Ronaldo – says the manager is the issue.

"I wouldn't have been happy as a player," Ferdinand told BT Sport.

"Ronaldo mentioned he would have handled things differently. Any emotions attached to it; it takes control. I probably would have been in the queue asking him about it.

"There's always another side to it. When you're dealing with Cristiano Ronaldo, he's Ronaldo. The way of treating him is different to everybody else.

"Communication. That's probably the first time in his life where that's not upheld by the manager.

"I'm not saying he was right but there are special players sometimes in a squad that things work differently for.

"It's important for the team to see that he is communicated with. He's 37. He probably needs that more than ever."

It was put to Ferdinand that the manager's decision should be final and respected, but again the former centre-back questioned Ten Hag's communication, suggesting the situation was simmering after Ronaldo was only introduced as a late substitute in the recent 6-3 defeat to Manchester City.

"I'm preparing myself to play games, communicate that [only playing a few minutes] to me," he continued.

"It was disrespectful to bring [Ronaldo] on against Man City for a few minutes. Foresee this happening before it happens. With the way it's panned out, you can see how a player can react.

"He's my mate, I want him to do well, but I would be on to [Ten Hag] and say, 'What are you doing?'

"If communication isn't there, problems arise."

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