Belfast Telegraph

Ferdinand facing comeback delay as Manchester United miss out on Ozil

Rio Ferdinand is still a month away from returning to action, according to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

The England captain has spent the last two months recovering from the knee ligament injury which ruled him out of the World Cup.

Ferguson revealed on July 25 that the 31-year-old would not be back in action for six weeks, ruling him out of the start of the new Premier League season and making him a major doubt for England's opening two Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria on September 3 and Switzerland four days later.

That estimation now looks to have been slightly optimistic.

“Rio is nowhere near, no. He's doing little bits of jogging and things like that, but I think he's a month away,” said Ferguson last night.

“We always anticipated it would take time. It's a knee ligament and although it wasn't what you'd call a serious one, it was a hard one. You have to take time with knee ligaments.”

“Rio has had a bad 12 months and we hope it gets better for him. You hope the break over the summer with missing the World Cup will help him.

“The back injury seemed to sort itself out as the season went on, then he had the groin injury. He's had a succession of these things and you don't want to see that when a player is in his 30s.”

Ferguson has been quiet in the transfer market this summer and he looks like missing out on one of his targets.

For Werder Bremen midfielder Mesut Ozil is optimistic about becoming a Real Madrid player after learning of the Spanish club's interest in him.

The Germany international turned down a new contract offer with Bremen and has only 12 months left to run on his current deal.

Therefore, Bremen are likely to consider offers for him this summer rather than risk losing him on a free transfer next year, but have already turned down an offer from Real.

However, the player now has his heart set on a move to Spain.

“When you have such an opportunity like this, then you want to take it,” he said after his side's 4-0 win over Ahlen in the DFB-Pokal on Saturday.

“It is any footballer's dream to play for the biggest teams in Europe.”

Ozil only found out about Real's offer when he heard about it on television on Friday night and he is disappointed with his club for not informing him, even though they rejected it out of hand.

“I was very sad about that,” he said. “I have said that to (director of sport) Mr (Klaus) Allofs.”

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