Rio Ferdinand may not have held any allegiances, or have been in attendance, when Portugal met Northern Ireland in Porto this week, but the Manchester United star played a significant role in the post-match actions of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo made his 100th appearance for his country on Tuesday and, although Northern Ireland held on for a famous point, the Real Madrid star will surely savour the memory of his historic achievement.
The 27-year-old, however, chose not to keep his shirt as a momento on the final whistle, but instead swapped with Huddersfield midfielder Oliver Norwood - something Ronaldo had promised before the match.
Ronaldo was acting on the advice of Ferdinand, who had received a phonecall from Norwood - a former Manchester United trainee - in the run-up to the encounter in the hope the latter would wield his power and secure one of the most prized shirts in football.
Ferdinand did just that, and made sure to contact Ronaldo and tell his former Manchester United teammate that Norwood was desperate to get hold of his shirt after the encounter at the Estadio do Dragao.
And Ronaldo stayed true to his word.
"Rio and I have the same agent, and I knew he had kept in touch with Ronaldo from their days together at United," Norwood said, as reported by the Daily Mail.
"So I phoned him last week and asked if he could put a word in for me. I just explained how much it would mean to have Ronaldo’s shirt, and could he possibly see what the chances were."
"I was hoping that might do the trick, but I wanted to make sure, so I went up to Ronaldo before the game and introduced myself. He just said: 'Yeah, Rio spoke to me. Don’t worry - the shirt’s yours.'"
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