Today’s papers have been reporting on “Rio’s advice for Rooney” but the reality is the quotes attributed to Rio Ferdinand are all about his own relationship with the club, and nothing to do with Wayne Rooney.
Whilst Ferdinand isn’t the most popular player amongst some United fans, but for any of his flaws, he cannot be faulted on the way he speaks about the club. Whilst some players, like Rooney, take the honour of playing for United for granted, Rio is very appreciative of the position he’s in.
“I don’t see where you go better from here,” said Rio. “For instance, Cristiano has been ridiculous as a football player individually but has he won more trophies since leaving than what we’ve won? It was his dream to go there, so you have to respect that. But I just look at things in a black and white way — I want to win trophies so why would I leave here? It’s the history. I think I said on my first day that I want to be able to walk out of this club with my head held high and etched in some way in the club’s history. You only do that by being successful. There are only a few clubs in the world that set the demands that this club sets, and I think the top players want that on their shoulders. If you get asked to come to Manchester United, I see it as a no-brainer. I wanted to come because of that history. I’ve had loads of offers over the years to go to other football clubs but I’ve never really wanted to go anywhere. I came to Man United for one simple reason — that was to win trophies. I’m sure most players, when they’re asked to come to Manchester United, that should be the question they ask themselves: Have I got a chance to win? Do you want to be part of that history of the club? Normally the answers to those questions is yes. I certainly wouldn’t play for anyone else in England. I wouldn’t want to come to Old Trafford as an away player, it just wouldn’t feel right.”
Now, if this was advice for Rooney, would he take it on board? The fact that Rooney has asked to leave twice in less than three years suggests that he doesn’t view the club the same way Rio does. Also, you have to wonder how close the two players are these days.
Rooney’s closest friend in football in Ashley Cole, who the FA deemed lied in his defence of John Terry when he racially abused Rio’s brother, Anton.
Piers Morgan interviewed Rooney last summer and his strong feelings for Cole were more than apparent.
‘Who’s your best friend in the game?’ I asked.
He smiled. ‘You’re not going to like this…’
‘Are you serious?’
‘Yes. He’s nothing like what you guys think. Ash is a really sound guy and has been a proper friend to me.’
As I mulled over this shocking revelation, he added: ‘I’d take a bullet for him.’
Coleen nearly choked on her wine.
‘Do behave, Wayne! You wouldn’t take a bullet for him.’
‘I would! And he would for me, too. We’d die for each other!’
You imagine Rooney would be happiest if Chelsea put a bid in for him so he could cosy up with Cole at Stamford Bridge. You also imagine Chelsea is the last club United would sell him to.