I had huge doubts over Man Utd signing but Cristiano Ronaldo leapt to his defence, says Rio Ferdinand

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RIO FERDINAND had huge doubts over Diogo Dalot back in the day – but Cristiano Ronaldo leapt to the Manchester United star’s defence.

Dalot was the star man on Sunday after pinpointing a cross which saw Scott McTominay head in the winner to earn a crucial 2-1 victory against Aston Villa.

AFPRio Ferdinand had huge doubts over Diogo Dalot back in the day but Cristiano Ronaldo did not[/caption]

GettyDalot impressed on Sunday after assisting the winner against Aston Villa[/caption]

This term the Portuguese right-back has been key under Erik ten Hag making 32 appearances across all competitions.

So far he has scored two goals and created three assists for the Red Devils and has got Ferdinand regretting what he said about the defender when he first joined United in 2018 from Porto.

But luckily for Dalot his fellow former Portuguese team-mate Ronaldo was there to back the 24-year-old’s corner.

On Ferdinand’s Vibe with Five podcast he said: “Dalot needs a special mention.

“He is someone I doubted early on. 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.

“He saw it behind the scenes so he knew that. I said to Darren Fletcher when I was at the training ground the other day that he has really impressed me.

“Darren said that he is a worker, he’s going to make himself the player he needs to be.

“I still think defensively he probably needs to work a little bit. But yesterday against Aston Villa I thought he was very good defensively.

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” With the ball, that cross, if we have players running onto them, the forwards will make the runs and we will score more goals.”

Dalot who cost the Red Devils £19million has faced criticim during his time at Old Trafford.

His future at the club was in jeopardy after spending a season on loan with AC Milan in 2020-21.

But even boss Ten Hag came to his defence after Sunday’s triumph at Villa Park.

He said: “Everyone gets criticism but he is a fantastic player who is developing very well.

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“He can play in so many positions and he is improving on crosses. He can score and his defending is improving so I am very pleased with him.”

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