Ferdinand tells Messi to emulate Rooney’s Ronaldo sacrifice

Lionel Messi has formed a formidable attacking trio at PSG along with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, but Rio Ferdinand says they are lacking one thing that will make them click

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Messi gets backing from Pochettino after slow start at PSG

Rio Ferdinand has called on PSG superstar Lionel Messi to emulate the sort of sacrifices Wayne Rooney used to make at Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi started in a star-studded front three also including Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in Wednesday’s Champions League clash against Manchester City.

The former Barcelona forward has had a slow start to life in the French capital, making just two appearances in Ligue 1.

Messi also started against Club Brugge in PSG’s opening European fixture as they were held to a 1-1 draw in Belgium.

There have been question marks raised over whether Messi will be able to slot in with Neymar and Mbappe, with their underwhelming performance against Brugge heavily criticised.

Soccer Football – Champions League – Group A – Paris St Germain v Manchester City – Parc des Princes, Paris, France – September 28, 2021 Paris St Germain’s Lionel Messi reacts REUTERS/Benoit Tessier


REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)

And former Man United legend Ferdinand, who played alongside Ronaldo for several years while United were at the peak of their powers, suggested that Messi may need to make sacrifices for the team to fit in.

The Argentine was the main man for most of his time at Barcelona, but looks set to play on the right wing for PSG, where he will have to stick to his role.

And Ferdinand insisted that he once saw Wayne Rooney move out to the left wing to get the best out of team-mate Ronaldo and ensure the system functioned best.

Can Messi play form a partnership with Neymar and Mbappe? Comment down below

“There’s got to be humility, If I can liken it to someone like Wayne Rooney,” he said on BT Sport of Messi slotting in at PSG.

“Wayne Rooney was superstar, world-class talent, he was willing to sacrifice being a number nine to go left wing for Cristiano Ronaldo at times.

“In the Champions League final he went left-wing to track back.

“When you’ve got players like that you’ll be successful, you’ll win big tournaments, big trophies.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney led Man Utd to Champions League glory in 2008

“That’s the question to these guys now, we’ve watched them in big games and at Anfield being one, offensively they’re tuned up they’re ready but defensively they didn’t offer as much as you would need to be a successful team at the highest level.”

Owen Hargreaves was also a member of that team that won the Champions League in 2008.

And he admitted that Ronaldo and Rooney’s hunger to press from the front set them apart from PSG’s front line, who he believes require a highly defensive-midfield behind them.

Hargreaves added: “You think about that United team, you had Wayne Rooney top of the pitch and Carlos Tevez and Ronaldo sometimes played off the left, certain games Ronaldo would go to the top.

“Those two played like defensive players they pressed the ball, none of these three [Messi, Mbappe, Neymar] want to track back so it would be curious to see who comes back because someones going to have to track back in the game and that’s why I think he’s playing three defensive midfield players in Herrera, Gueye and Veratti.

“I think the three are going to stay up and the rest of the team is going to have to work to get it back for them.”

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