Manchester United icon Rio Ferdinand recently disclosed that Cristiano Ronaldo encouraged him to be patient with right-back Diogo Dalot, who initially struggled to adapt to life at the club, Daily Mail reported.
Dalot, signed from Porto for £19 million in 2019, faced challenges and was loaned to AC Milan for a year due to underwhelming performances. However, he has since become a pivotal player for Man Utd under manager Erik Ten Hag as they vie for a top-four spot in the Premier League.
Despite early doubts about Dalot’s abilities, Ferdinand shared in an interview that Ronaldo consistently reassured him about the right-back’s potential.
Ferdinand recounted, “I remember speaking to Cristiano Ronaldo and said, ‘Is he really that good?’ — and Cristiano said he will work hard, make himself better, and 100 per cent improve.” The 24-year-old has indeed showcased improvement, making 32 appearances this season with two goals and three assists.
Ferdinand, expressing his change of opinion, acknowledged Dalot’s impressive performance, especially highlighting his defensive abilities in the recent victory against Aston Villa. He commended Dalot’s skills with the ball, emphasising the potential for increased goal-scoring opportunities with his precise crosses.
Manager Ten Hag echoed the positive sentiments, praising Dalot’s versatility and notable progress. He stated, “He is a fantastic player who is developing very well,” emphasising Dalot’s ability to play multiple positions, improve his crosses, and contribute both defensively and offensively.
As Dalot continues to evolve, the endorsement from Ronaldo and recognition from key figures within the club underscore his growing importance to Manchester United.