Rio Ferdinand blames one of his former Man United team-mates for allowing Ronaldo to score a hat-trick against him as he reviewed their Champions League loss to Real Madrid in 2003
- Real Madrid eliminated Manchester United from the Champions League in 2003
- Rio Ferdinand blames ex-teammate for allowing Ronaldo to score three
- The ex-defender reflected on the game, his performance and that of a colleague
Rio Ferdinand hit out at a former Manchester United team-mate for allowing Ronaldo to score three times in their Champions League exit in 2003.
Real Madrid had won the first leg 3-1 before traveling to Old Trafford, where they were blown away by the Brazilian legend’s dominating goal – which was replaced by a cheering reception from both sets of fans.
As Man United won the game 4-3 on the night it meant they left the competition at the quarter-final stage, and now Ferdinand had the chance to reflect on the game and his performance himself and his colleagues.
In the BT Sport video, shared on social media platform TikTok, Ferdinand admitted he was outplayed by Ronaldo on the night but also questioned the team’s goalkeeping and defensive qualities as they conceded three goals.
Ferdinand was also furious that the Brazilian’s performance warranted a positive response from Man United fans, when he was taken off the pitch in the 67th minute, with legends like Zinedine Zidane and Guti also in the side.
Rio Ferdinand struck as Manchester United let Ronaldo score three goals at Old Trafford
Man United were 3-1 down from the first leg so a one-goal win at home wasn’t enough
Although there were some issues with the team as their defensive shortcomings showed up on the night, Ferdinand asked some particularly insightful questions of goalkeeper Fabien Barthez.
For Ronaldo’s opener, Guti emptied United’s defense before facing off against the Brazilian. Ferdinand said: “It’s not a big goal. It’s not. I don’t care. He knows what he’s up against, he knows he has to take it early, and he does.
“Barthez, he can only go to the near post. I have him where I want him to go away from the goal. He can only approach the post… Fabien? Fabien, man! We have to come back to that.
Breaking down the second goal, set up by Zinedine Zidane, Ferdinand raised his hands to admit his mistake. He said: “A great race. He is in the penalty area. There is no defender at hand. My fault, man. I’ll take this. It was me. I’ll take this.
Just before the hour mark, Ronaldo sealed his hat trick with a superb drive from 25 yards past Barthez.
However, while admitting some responsibility for Ronaldo’s third as well, Ferdinand was also back on Barthez’s tail, noting that the goalkeeper was off his line.
“We are disembarking,” said Ferdinand. ‘I have to get up. I have to tighten things up a bit. But… Fabien, what are you doing?!
Fabien Barthez was criticized by Ferdinand for two of Ronaldo’s goals on the night of 2003
Ronaldo was greeted enthusiastically by both sets of fans when he was substituted
‘I do not have it. Fabien is on his penalty area, by the way. He was lobbed.
He also said he couldn’t sleep after that night in 2003 – and it led to him going from the No.6 shirt in his first season to the No.5 shirt the next.
“I was not the same player. We won the league, but I wasn’t the player I became,’ Ferdinand revealed.
While this Champions League season ended in failure for Manchester United, Ferdinand was able to lift the trophy for Europe’s elite club with the team that won in Moscow in 2008.