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Man Utd defender Rio Ferdinand refuses to dwell on Cristiano Ronaldo and Rome
Published : 24 Jul 2009 15:34:02Rss feed
How United will react to Ronaldo's £80 million departure to Real Madrid and the Champions League final defeat against Barcelona in Rome is not as yet known. A handful of warm-up games against hand-picked opponents on the club's Far East tour are no gauge to assessing United's prospects this season. Ferdinand is confident, however, that the future remains as bright as the recent past at Old Trafford. At 30, the England defender has experienced enough peaks and troughs to read the signs and he has no doubts about United's ability to move on from Ronaldo and Rome. "At first, I thought last season was a bad one," Ferdinand admits. "But as time goes on, and days and weeks go past, you judge it with a clear head and realise it was a successful season. "We won three trophies, and a major one in the league, and reached a second successive Champions League final. "But when you travel around in the summer, you are never too far from a news stand and I would normally buy sports magazines, but this time I didn't. "I was toing and froing about whether I could have done this or that, but it is time to put it to bed. I'm over it now, looking ahead to a new season." Ronaldo's exit leaves a huge hole. Sir Alex Ferguson admitted as much by describing the Portuguese as the world's best player by "absolutely miles" earlier this week. But while acknowledging Ronaldo's value to the team, Ferdinand insists that his departure can allow United to evolve into a new force. He said: "We will be a lot more compact as a team with Cristiano gone, more compact in midfield and harder to break down. "One thing I'm sure of is that Ronaldo going will bring the best out in our players. "We know he scored a lot of goals in the last two seasons for us, but we have players who are capable of doing that and I'm sure they can go out there, do that job and fill the gap. "The longevity and time we have had together as a team, learning each other's games and personalities is a big weapon, and one we have to use. We have the mentality of winners. "Other people are going to have to take responsibility because there are goals that have gone out of our team that need to be made up. "I don't think any of the lads are bitter or should be bitter towards Ronny. He came here as a young lad and gave six years of his career to this club. "So bearing in mind that careers average out at between 10-12 years, he's given half his career to one club, this club, and I think you have to respect that. "You can't put a shadow over someone's dream. Since he was a kid, he wanted to play for Real Madrid. "Playing for Manchester United is the holy grail for some people and it is those people who probably don't understand why he wants to go somewhere else that equals the holy grail." Michael Owen, a free-transfer arrival from Newcastle, will be expected to contribute towards replacing the goals scored by Ronaldo. Despite admitting to being "surprised" by Ferguson's move for the England forward, Ferdinand now insists he is "very confident we have signed the right type of player". But while United have cashed the biggest cheque in this summer's transfer market following the sale of Ronaldo, the big money has been spent across town at Manchester City. Even Ferdinand's defensive partner with England, Chelsea captain John Terry, has been on City's radar. Ferdinand said: "Everyone has to make their own decisions in life and JT is his own man. "But if I left United, I wouldn't go to a team that I didn't feel was capable of winning trophies. "I wouldn't join a club who I didn't think would to finish in the top two or three in the Premier League, vying for the Champions League. "In some ways, it's exciting for football that someone outside of the usual top four has money to spend and might be a threat to those teams. But if I'm honest, I'm not really that bothered about Manchester City. "I'm more interested in what we're doing. All my summer has been spent thinking about who we're going to sign, how we're going to start the season, how pre-season is going to go and so on."
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