Belfast Telegraph

I'd relish having Ronaldo back at Manchester United, says Rio Ferdinand


By Adam McKendry

Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand admits he would love to see superstar Cristiano Ronaldo return to Old Trafford as speculation continues to mount over his future.

The Portuguese flyer is believed to have told current club Real Madrid he is unhappy in Spain after being suspected of committing tax fraud, and is angling for a move away.

Inevitably, one of the first clubs linked with luring Ronaldo away from the Bernabeu were former side United. The Red Devils would have the money to do so, and the four-time Ballon d'Or winner has reportedly said he would prefer a move back to Manchester over any other deal.

It is also believed that 32-year-old Ronaldo, who captained Portugal to Euro 2016 success in France last year, wants to work with Jose Mourinho again after serving under him at Real. If he did return to the Premier League with United, it would end his eight-year absence from England having played in Manchester between 2003 and 2009.

Former defender Ferdinand, who played with Ronaldo at United for all six of those years, winning nine trophies including the Champions League, says he would be thrilled to see the Madeira native make a return in red.

"I hope (he'll return)," the 38-year-old said of the forward who made 196 appearances in a United shirt.

"I'm a Man United fan, and my kids love him, so I hope that he'll be back. But will he leave Real Madrid? I don't know."

Ferdinand was in Belfast at the Whiterock Leisure Centre alongside Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions star Tommy Bowe and Belfast MMA fighter Leah McCourt to promote a new initiative.

The Rio Ferdinand Foundation (RFF) has joined up with BT and the Active Communities Network to help young people gain skills that will help them get work.

The RFF and BT will work together to provide mentoring and teaching for young people in disadvantaged communities with the support of the Active Communities Network.

There will also be traineeships, work experience schemes and boot camps offered by BT to help the young people gain valuable experience with a view to them eventually gaining employment.

Initially activity will be focused in west Belfast, however there are already plans for the scheme to be rolled out across Northern Ireland.

"I'm really excited to be striking up this partnership with BT and at the prospect of working with the Active Communities Network," Ferdinand commented on the new scheme.

"We'll be aiming to help youngsters gain the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the world of work.

"I am particularly pleased that we can now offer these opportunities in Belfast following the fantastic support my Foundation has received from this city in the past.

"A partnership with BT is a natural fit for me given the shared ambitions that we both have in this area.

"Some great work is already being done by both organisations, but by working together we hope to make an even greater difference to the lives of young people."

Belfast Telegraph


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