Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes diving needs to be eradicated from world football - rather than just in the Premier League.

Diving has been high on the agenda this week after Red Devils winger Ashley Young was booked for trying to win a penalty against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Following the high-profile incident, veteran defender Ferdinand has publicly backed manager David Moyes - who this week called for players to receive retrospective action if they are found guilty of trying to con the officials.

Ferdinand, speaking ahead of United's Champions League match against Bayer Leverkusen, said: "It’s weird. It’s got to happen across Europe and the world, not just in our league.

"You go into the Champions League and you have been told in the Premier League you are not meant to dive, then you get players from other countries who simulate.

"As a defender, you don’t want people trying to con the referee, but if there is contact, the player has the right to go down.

"It has become a part of our game that, as defenders, we are used to. You have got to defend with your head and think how you are going to combat the forwards.

"They are cute and know how to deal with this type of stuff. It is such a difficult thing for referees to say someone dived or there was contact.

"Retrospective viewing and punishments may be the way to go."

The 34-year-old is likely to start tonight's match at Old Trafford alongside centre-back partner Nemanja Vidic.

Ferdinand also said in Monday's pre-match press conference that he is fit enough to play three competitive games a week - despite the fact that former manager Sir Alex Ferguson often rested him when Manchester United had a busy schedule.

The former England international will be hoping to face arch-rivals Manchester City on Sunday.

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