Cristiano Ronaldo has once again received public support from former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand.
Ronaldo has had a dismal start to the season and appears to be struggling to get into goal-scoring positions, suggesting the 37-year-old may never regain his form.
He was ineffective again during United’s clash with Aston Villa on Sunday and managed just one Premier League goal this season, despite playing 520 minutes.
While it seems apparent that the Red Devils are better off without this version of Ronaldo, Rio Ferdinand chimed in with a strange excuse for their performances.
The retired defender has always supported his former teammate while working as a pundit both on television and on his own YouTube channel, Vibe with Five.
Speaking about the latter (quotes via The Mirror), Ferdinand notably stated that Ronaldo is struggling to get fit.
“He’s probably also struggling to be fit at the moment, if he goes to a World Cup and plays, he could come back in better condition than when he left. You don’t know. How many games do you think it takes to get in shape?
The suggestion that United’s struggling striker will emerge from a demanding tournament in peak physical condition certainly sounds fanciful.
And given Ferdinand’s unwavering defense of Ronaldo, it’s easy to imagine him using the World Cup as an excuse for the striker’s poor form on the other side of the tournament.
However, the Englishman points to Ronaldo’s lack of pre-season as the reason behind his current problems.
“I never felt fit until six games into the season. I was always going to preseason games worrying about my fitness and being fit enough to make it through 90 minutes.
“If you go back through history and look at the players who have missed the preseason, they rarely reach the heights that you’re used to,” he added.
It’s worth noting that Ronaldo now has 10 league appearances on the season, with an additional 6 starts in the Europa League; he is already past six games at this point.
And that’s forgetting the fact that Ronaldo only missed pre-season because he refused to travel with his United team-mates, preferring instead to seek a transfer in Europe.
With excuses exhausted for the legendary goalscorer, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him out for the Red Devils’ final Premier League game before the World Cup, against Fulham.
For Ferdinand, that would be “a big shout”, although when asked if Ronaldo could have played his last game for United, he only said that “time will tell”.
Of course, Erik ten Hag will need to get some of his attackers back on form to give him that option, with Jadon Sancho, Antony and Anthony Martial missing games recently due to illness and injury.
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