Rio Ferdinand has praised the qualities of Man City playmaker David Silva, but maintained his Manchester United allegiances by aiming a not so subtle dig at the Citizens fanbase.
The former Manchester United defender was discussing Silva’s impact in the Premier League as the midfielder enters the final months of his career at the Etihad, the Spaniard having announced he will leave City this summer after a decade of success in Manchester.
Speaking on BT Sport alongside former Man City goalkeeper Joe Hart, Ferdinand was full of praise for the ‘fantastic’ midfielder, but could not resist a dig at United’s cross-city rivals.
“When you see any City fans around – not many of them are around – but if you see any of them around, [then] he’s one of the first names when they talk about their favourite players and what a player means to their club. He’s a fantastic footballer.”
Hart seemed shocked by Ferdinand’s comments, being heard saying ‘wow’, a reaction which prompted laughter from Gary Lineker and Peter Crouch.
"I didn't think he'd be such a huge signing. I hadn't heard of him!"
The last chance for David Silva to win the Champions League at Manchester City. @RioFerdy5, Joe Hart, and @PeterCrouch look back on one of the best foreign players ever to play in England. pic.twitter.com/EEJQvPGZQ1
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 26, 2020
Discussing his own memories of working with the man nicknamed Merlin, Hart admitted he did not know much about the diminutive Spaniard upon his arrival from Valencia in 2010, the 34-year-old going on to win four Premier League titles during a trophy-laden spell at the club.
“He was [a huge signing], [though] at the time I didn’t think he was, I hadn’t really heard of David,” Hart admitted.
“He’s not the most excitable of people, but put him in a pair of football boots, on the pitch, put a bunch of people – most of them about a foot bigger than him trying to kill him because he’s very very skilful – and he just glides round them.
“He plays football, plays simple, scores goals, and assists.”