Former England striker Alan Shearer grilled fellow BBC pundit Rio Ferdinand after the ex-Manchester United man revealed that he has been texting with Cristiano Ronaldo at the World Cup. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner had his Old Trafford contract terminated and is a free agent in Qatar, as speculation has been rife over his next club.
Saudi Arabian giants Al Nassr have reportedly offered the Portugal star a mammoth contract to tempt him to the Middle East, as Ferdinand explained that Ronaldo had been sending him “business-like” messages in Qatar.
“He is super-focused now, there’s no debating it,” Ferdinand said during the BBC’s coverage of South Korea vs Portugal. “But in terms of speaking to him on the phone, he’s very short and sharp and business-like right now. Different from outside of the tournament, you can sense there’s a difference in his focus and I think that’s interesting.”
Gary Lineker interrupted and joked that Ronaldo was trying to be kind as he wanted Ferdinand to stop bothering him. Ferdinand replied: “One words: ‘How you doing?’ ‘Alright’. But he is obviously a fabulous player and his passion for his country is phenomenal and today he will want to play, he will have looked at this and thought he may be one of them ones that at 37 to rest him, but I am sure he is in the changing room telling the manager ‘You play me, I don’t want to rest’.”
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Shearer then took aim at Ferdinand and could not believe he had not got Ronaldo’s next club out of him in their conversations. “Did you not ask him where he is going then?” Shearer asked Ferdinand. The ex-England defender replied: “I’ve tried to, I’ve tried to reason it out of him but he won’t tell me.”
The Newcastle legend then claimed Ferdinand wasn’t working hard enough. “Come on,” Shearer added. “You’re not doing your job!” Ferdinand did explain what Ronaldo had told him ahead of a potential move: “He says ‘I’m only thinking about the World Cup and I will think about the transfer after’.”
Ferdinand and Ronaldo have remained close as the former team-mates played together during the Portuguese man’s first spell at Old Trafford, but he was unable to get any clues as to where the 37-year-old would sign a contract.
After Ronaldo’s contract was terminated, Ferdinand admitted that he could no longer defend the striker after his conduct. “You can’t sit here and defend that from Cristiano Ronaldo,” Ferdinand said on his Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE YouTube channel.
“Deep down and I know it for a fact, this has all been manufactured for one thing – and that’s for him to leave the club. Up to this interview I would defend him, and say the club have a big responsibility to communicate better.”