Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has explained exactly how he thinks Cristiano Ronaldo will react to his Player of the Season snub. Ronaldo, 37, was not nominated for the award despite scoring an impressive 18 goals in 30 games this season.
Ronaldo was not named on the shortlist, with Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse and Bukayo Saka of Arsenal instead getting the nod ahead of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Ferdinand, speaking on the Vibe With FIVE podcast, reacted to the “laughable” shortlist and said: “I wouldn’t have had Saka in there yet, as well as he’s done. I wouldn’t have had him in there ahead of Ronaldo, no, not this season. Ronaldo should be in there ahead of three or four of those guys. He probably doesn’t win it but in terms of nominees it’s laughable. He will take it as a disrespect, these are the things that fuel him.
“He will be thinking ‘how dare you’, but it’s based off stats and facts and he’ll be like ‘Listen, I’ve banged in more goals than most of if not all of them on that list other than Salah, so what are you talking about?’”
The full shortlist, chosen by a selection of representatives from the Premier League’s board, fans and media, feature Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne, Son Heung-min, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jarrod Bowen, Joao Cancelo, Saka and Ward-Prowse.
Ronaldo won the award twice during his first spell at Old Trafford, claiming the top prize in 2006/07 and 2007/08. Meanwhile, there were also no Manchester United nominees for the Premier League’s Young Player of the Season award. The full shortlist featured Alexander-Arnold, Saka, Phil Foden, Conor Gallagher, Tyrick Mitchell, Mason Mount, Aaron Ramsdale and Declan Rice. Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Frank, Patrick Vieira and Eddie Howe were nominated for the Manager of the Season Award.
Fans had until May 16 to vote for their Player of the Season, and the votes of the public will be combined with those of the 20 club captains and a panel of football experts to decide the winner.
Despite Ronaldo scoring more goals than any player on the shortlist bar Salah and Son, it has been a frustrating season for the Portuguese forward. United languish in sixth in the table, two points ahead of West Ham, and will hope that defeat on the final day away to Crystal Palace coupled with a Hammers win at Brighton won’t see David Moyes’ side leapfrog his former club into a Europa League qualification spot.
Incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag took charge of his final Ajax game on Sunday having led them to the title and will soon be planning for next season at the helm at Old Trafford.