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.”