Cristiano Ronaldo will retire as one of the three best players ever, says Rio Ferdinand

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Ferdinand and Ronaldo are still close friends.

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand is adamant former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo could play for another decade given the meticulous attention he pays to the physical side of the game.

The former Red Devils centre-back, who travelled to Madrid to interview Ronaldo at his home earlier this month for Nike, believes the Real Madrid icon still has plenty of years left in him at the highest level of the game – despite the fact he turns 33 in February.

Ferdinand lined up for six trophy-laden seasons with Ronaldo at Old Trafford under Sir Alex Ferguson – and knows better than most how the four-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner still remains close to the peak of his powers.

“When you speak to him you think he can play for another ten years, the way he talks about his future,” the 38-year-old told Sport360 at the launch of the 30-day Dubai Fitness Challenge.

“He’s so confident in himself because he doesn’t leave anything to chance, especially fitness. In his preparation work, he takes care of everything better than I’ve ever seen in football.

“To be so elite, stay there and be as good as he has for so long, you have to be serious with your lifestyle and fitness. He’s done that.”

While Ferdinand played with and against plenty of world-class talent in a stellar career which almost spanned two decades, he rates Ronaldo above anyone else and says the Whites No.7 is well in the debate over who is the greatest player of all time.

He said: “Cristiano will go down when he retires as one of the best three players to have ever played the game, he’s right up there. Of course he has natural talent but his work ethic matches many men.”

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