Rio Ferdinand has revealed how Cristiano Ronaldo’s support for Diogo Dalot helped change his opinion of the Manchester United defender.
The right-back is currently in his sixth season at United after joining Porto in 2018, with the current campaign arguably his best yet.
Dalot made 30 starts for the club in all competitions, scoring two goals and assisting three others, including his fine cross for Scott McTominay’s winner against Aston Villa.
Some fans have questioned his impact on the team since his arrival, with Ferdinand also one to doubt his quality at the club.
However, his opinion of the 24-year-old has apparently changed with the help of fellow Portuguese international Ronaldo, with the pair making 53 appearances together for club and country.
Speaking on his Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE YouTube channel after the win over Villa, Ferdinand said: “Dalot actually needs a special mention because he’s someone I doubted earlier.
“I remember talking to Cristiano: ‘Is he really going to be good?’ And Cristiano said: “Rio, he works, he will work hard, he will improve, 100 percent he will improve.”
“And he obviously sees it behind the scenes so he knows it, and I told Darren Fletcher [United technical director]I was at the training ground the other day.
“I said, ‘He’s really impressed me,’ and he was like, ‘Look, he’s a worker, he’s going to be the player he needs to be.’ I still think defensively he probably needs to work a little bit, but yesterday defensively I thought he was very good.
“With the ball, this cross, if players run on these crosses, then the attackers will make runs and score more goals.”
Dalot’s impressive performances this season have seen him overtake Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the right-back pecking order at United, and he has failed to feature in just two games so far.
He committed his long-term future to Old Trafford by signing a new contract at the start of the summer until 2028.
However, Dalot could face increased competition at right-back next season, with the position “tentatively targeted” for recruitment in the summer transfer window.
Bayer Leverkusen star Jeremie Frimpong was linked with a move to the club last summer and could be eyed again in the coming months amid his success in their Bundesliga title race campaign.