Rio Ferdinand responds to Sir Alex Ferguson's 'world class' comments in lengthy Facebook post

The former England defender posed a series of questions about the notion of a 'world class' player

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Rio Ferdinand responded to Sir Alex Ferguson's comments about the number of 'world class' players he has managed by sparking a semantic debate about what the phrase really means.

In his new book Leading, Ferguson claims that he only managed four world class players during his 26-year tenure at Manchester United.

Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona, Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo are the selected few, with names like Roy Keane, Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Peter Schmeichel left out.




Ferdinand, as well as his long-time defensive partner Nemanja Vidic, are also omitted, and judging by his Facebook post on Wednesday evening, he thinks he shouldn't have been.

"What equates to being world class?", he asked. "Sir Alex Ferguson named 4 players from his time at MUFC as being 'world class' (where was mine among a few other names boss!)"

5 things we learned from Fergie's new book

Ferdinand then went on pose a series of questions on the whole notion of a footballer being 'world class'.

"How does he judge a player to be world class?" he pondered, before listing a number of traits he considers makes a world class player. "Performing in the big games, consistency, a high level of ability in all areas of the game, great goalscorer (sic), great saves, great tackler (sic), influential leader (sic)."

Ferdinand made 455 appearances for Manchester United

Next, the 36-year-old, who retired from football at the end of last season, ran through the specific qualities he looks for in particular positions.

"Can a midfielder run games consistently, can they score important goals, assists, carry the team, control games, be responsible, do they have the personality to take the ball in any situation at any time?"

"Can a defender dominate all types of strikers, can he influence others to perform better, are they vocal, a leader, do they have consistency, perform in big games, are they brave, can they play/pass...?"

"Can a 'keeper make game changing saves, are they consistent, are they leaders, [do they have] personality? These are some of the things you would have to consider when calling someone world class."

Ultimately, Ferdinand believes that "a world class player must be someone who could walk into any team in the world and improve them."

"Of course the Ronaldos, Peles, Maradonas, Cruyffs, Messis & Cristiano Ronaldos would all do that no problem.

"Anyway," Ferdinand concluded, "the debate goes on..."



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