Rio Ferdinand has named Cristiano Ronaldo in his EA Sports FIFA 2022 Team of the Year alongside Mohamed Salah and Robert Lewandowski, omitting Lionel Messi.
Prior to the 36-year-old’s sensational return to the Premier League, he broke the record for the most league goals in a calendar year as he beat Romelu Lukaku to the golden boot in Serie A.
Unfortunately, his goalscoring exploits in Turin couldn’t lead them to another Scudetto as Inter Milan ended their decade wait for success.
The absence of the Paris Saint-Germain attacker could raise eyebrows after he finished above all of Ferdinand’s front three in the running for the Ballon d’Or, but the ex-player he been less than impressed since the summer.
“My guy, Cristiano Ronaldo,” Ferdinand says as he completes his forward line. “Top goalscorer in Serie A, he’s come to England, he’s in double figures already this season.”
Referencing recent critics of Ronaldo, he added: “It’s utterly disrespectful to question a man of his ability in terms of movement alone … Messi, since moving to PSG, cannot be in the conversation.”
Lewandowski enjoyed a rich vein of form in front of goal for Bayern Munich in a COVID-hit 2020 and 2021 but missed out to the Argentine for the Ballon d’Or.
“My guy and the player who should have won all the individual awards this year as the best player in 2021, was robbed in 2020. Is Mr Robert Lewandowski.,” Ferdinand lauded.
“There’s not enough I can say about this guy, he’s scored the most league goals of any player in Europe’s top five leagues. That’s enough, that’s all I need to say.
“There are so many more stats I could throw out there. If all three of us haven’t got him in our teams it discredits any part of your teams.”
Another contender for the Ballon d’Or was Liverpool’s Salah. The Egyptian has gone strength to strength at Anfield and continues to stake his claim as one of the most important players in the world.
“Mo Salah, this guy. Premier league’s best player in 2021,” the former defender said. “He has been nothing short of remarkable. No player has scored as many goals as him in 2021. six more than any other player, directly involved in 35 goals, 11 more than the next closest player.”
Watch the full video with Rio Ferdinand here to see the debate in full, as Rio, Joel and Ste pick their final selections for the EA SPORTS FIFA 22 TOTY. EA SPORTS FIFA 22 is available worldwide now.