Rio Ferdinand believes Cristiano Ronaldo “100% pre-meditated” his decision to ignore Gary Neville.
As he has somewhat made a tradition of this season, Ronaldo skipped over to the side of the pitch to say hello to the Sky Sports pundits. However, the iconic Manchester United ace snubbed a sheepish looking Neville, instead greeting Louis Saha and former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp.
Neville is now part of an illustrious club, including Jamie Carragher, who was also blanked by the former Real Madrid ace at the side of the pitch. And Ferdinand believes the 37-year-old’s actions were all pre-planned, as a response to their criticism in recent weeks.
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“Gary Neville got blanked,” Ferdinand shouted on the Vibe with Five podcast. “Neville looked nervous. I’ve seen that face before and he looked nervous. He was like ‘oh god is he going to talk to me?’”
When Ferdinand had finished laughing, he added, “There are many ways to look at this, but he’s blanked him and he’s premeditated it 100%. [He’s thought] ‘when I go out there and if my man’s out there, he ain’t getting a bar of love from me’.
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“He just put it on him out there like that and Neville’s standing there going ‘oh god, please say hello, please, please’.” Neville has previously said he feels United are a better team without Ronaldo and that the two parties should ‘end their relationship’.
Ronaldo made his first Premier League start since being jettisoned from the matchday squad by Erik ten Hag, as punishment for leaving the pitch and the stadium early, during United’s 2-0 home victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
But while Ferdinand feels players should accept the criticism from pundits such as Neville and himself, he also admitted he probably would have snubbed anybody who threw criticism at him.
“Constructive criticism is fine,” Ferdinand added, when detailing exactly where the line is for players, when criticism is concerned. "If someone says ‘I ain’t playing well’, or someone says they should sell me or anything like that, I would use that as fuel. I would hold that and that would be some negative energy there for me.
“If I saw that reporter out there, I would pie [blank] him – I would pie him. But me being in the position I am in now, I expect players to accept that. They should accept that as part of it, because we’re here, this is our job, we are here to critique your performance.”
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