Rio Ferdinand has revealed the text he received from former Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo after Gary Lineker said he ‘preferred’ Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo and Ferdinand spent six years at Old Trafford together, during which time they won three consecutive Premier League titles and lifted the Champions League in 2008 under Sir Alex Ferguson, as well as a collection of other domestic medals.
Since then Ronaldo has catapulted himself to the very pinnacle of the sport, recently matching Ali Daei’s record as the most prolific goalscoring in international history, with his brace against France at Euro 2020 bringing up strikes No. 108 and 109.
Such unprecedented success during a career would make any mortal immune to criticism, but ever the perfectionist, Ronaldo channels any negative energy hurled towards him and excels further, even trivial matters such as the ‘Messi-Ronaldo’ debate, according to Ferdinand.
Speaking this week in the BBC studio, Ferdinand told Lineker exactly what Ronaldo texted him after the footballer-turned-pundit said he preferred Messi.
He said: “He’s a phenomenal player but someone who thinks about everything in the game to get every little bit out of himself.
“It’s a great example and he uses negativity as fuel. You (Lineker) say Messi is the better out of the two. He will text me saying “why has he said that?”
“It’s his competitive nature and you need that to be the best.”
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Ferdinand: He was obsessed with becoming the best
Ferdinand went on to explain what day-to-day life was like training alongside Ronaldo during his formative years, revealing how the Portuguese immortal was hell-bent on becoming the best, to the point where it became an obsession.
He continued: “He was an obsessed human in terms of becoming the best. It’s down to commitment, a little bit of luck genetically as well.
“His touches have gone down since he was a young kid in 2004, but obviously the touches in the box where he’s going to affect games has gone up.”