Rio Ferdinand hails 'ball of the season' from Michael Carrick and says Manchester United midfielder doesn't receive enough credit

Carrick played a sublime pass for Javier Hernandez's opener against Chelsea on Sunda

Rio Ferdinand wishes Manchester United team-mate Michael Carrick did not have to work quite so hard to get little bits of praise.

Whilst Wayne Rooney's omission from the starting line-up for the defeat by Real Madrid last week occupied so many headlines, and the potential for Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford took some more, Carrick remained in the shadows.

It is just the way the midfielder likes it, really.

However, there are times, such as that sublime pass for Javier Hernandez's opener against Chelsea on Sunday, when Ferdinand believes some recognition is due.

"You wish players like that didn't have to go through their careers searching for accolades," the defender said.

"You would like to think people would just give them out. That hasn't been the case with Michael, which is unfortunate.

"No-one else could play a pass like he did for Javier's goal. It has to be the ball of the season. But I am sure no-one will talk about it.

"It will be swept under the carpet and all the talk will be about other players who maybe do a little bit more explosive things than Michael does.

"He is laid-back and plays at his own pace, so he always goes unnoticed. But he is valued highly by each member of our squad, don't worry about that."

A laid-back character by nature, Carrick has never given the impression of being fussed about attention - much like Paul Scholes.

Such an analysis could never be made of Ronaldo, who tends to revel in it.

He remains a hero amongst the Old Trafford faithful, even after playing such a prominent role in United's elimination from the Champions League.

It has been suggested Nike, who sponsor both United and Ronaldo, are working on a package that would reunite Ronaldo with United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, whom he continues to think of as his footballing father figure.

But there does not seem to be much chance of it happening if Real Madrid director Emilio Butragueno is to be believed.

"Cristiano is under contract and we are very happy with him," said Butragueno, who was at Old Trafford to publicise a legends game between United and Real Madrid on June 2.

"We are delighted he is at Madrid because he is a fantastic professional, and very ambitious in a positive way.

"His contribution to the team and the club has been amazing since he arrived.

"We are very grateful he came to us and are lucky he plays for Real Madrid."

PA

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