Rio Ferdinand raised a few eyebrows on Wednesday night after claiming that Zinedine Zidane, the great former France international, would not make it into his top five or 10 all-time great players list.
And the ex-Manchester United star, who now works as a pundit on BT Sport, even suggested that - in his mind - Zidane was perhaps not a “top, top player”.
Ferdinand argued the truly great players were more explosive and that the graceful Zidane, although beautiful to watch, was less effective.
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“Rio, you’re not overly convinced - you don’t put him in your top five or 10 players?” Gary Lineker asked Ferdinand before Real Madrid’s 2-0 win over AS Roma in the Champions League last-16 first leg.
“No, I don’t,” the retired defender replied. “There’s no denying he was a magician, an unbelievable footballer, but when I think of the top, top players - the likes of Ronaldinho, Diego Maradona, Cristiano Ronaldo, the real Ronaldo ‘R9’, Messi - these guys for me are more explosive and they got me off my seat a lot more than what Zidane did.
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“He was beautiful to watch, poetry in motion, like a ballerina on a football pitch, but these guys - they had that edge that I love and warm to.”
Video: Rio Ferdinand on Zinedine Zidane
Viewers react on Twitter
Ferdinand’s comments on Zidane sparked quite the reaction on Twitter - and here are some of the best tweets.
Zidane was a man for the big occasion
Zidane, who became Real Madrid’s new head coach last month, was an extraordinary footballer - that much can’t be disputed.
The retired midfielder also won every major trophy during his career, including the World Cup and the European Championships with France, and the Champions League title with Real Madrid.
Furthermore, Zidane won the 1998 Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award on three occasions.
He was a man for the big occasion and would pop up with crucial goals for his club and country at crucial times - including two goals in both of the World Cup finals he featured in, and one of the best goals of all time for Real Madrid against Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 Champions League final.
Zidane was obviously a truly great player
To suggest that Zidane was not a truly great player is, quite frankly, absurd.
He wasn’t blessed with rapid pace but he could control a game like few others have ever been able to.
There was a reason why all of Zidane’s ex-teammates would seek to find him with a pass: they knew he would retain possession and do something special with the ball at his feet.
Zidane wasn’t as prolific as the other great players Ferdinand named, either, but can it really be argued that he wasn’t a true great of the game?
Does Rio Ferdinand have a point about Zidane - or if he talking rubbish? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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