Rio Ferdinand names 12 players he considers world-class as Bukayo Saka debate rages on | Football

Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne make the world-class cut for Rio Ferdinand (Picture: Getty Images)

Rio Ferdinand has named 12 players who he considers world-class, after saying that Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka is not quite at that level yet.

The Manchester United legend got on the wrong side of Arsenal fans saying that Saka still has to prove himself at the elite level in the Champions League knockout stages to truly reach world-class status.

What counts as world-class is a subjective thing, but after having a think about it, Ferdinand reckons 12 players can be classed at the most elite level.

On TNT Sport he named Manchester City quintet, Ederson, Kyle Walker, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland and Liverpool trio, Alisson Becker, Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah completed the Premier League picks.

Ferdinand also gave the nod to Kylian Mbappe, Harry Kane, Vinicius Jr and Jude Bellingham, although rowed back on the young English midfielder.

‘They’ve actually got that list a little bit wrong because Bellingham was on the list a little below that on his own,’ said Ferdinand of the Real Madrid superstar.

‘He’s edging into there but the thing that means he’s not on that list for now is time. He will be there. He’s in world class form, he just needs that time.’

Real Madrid CF v Girona FC - LaLiga EA Sports

Jude Bellingham is enjoying a brilliant first season at Real Madrid (Picture: Getty Images)

The 45-year-old explained that Saka is in a similar situation to Bellingham, pushing towards world-class but not quite there yet.

‘That’s why I say Saka has got that world’class potential but he just hasn’t been exposed to the knockout stages of the Champions League or the longevity,’ he continued.

‘The other players on that list, they’ve played in the top prestigious games and they’ve produced in those moments, or they’ve done ridiculous things over a long period of time.’

Ferdinand originally gave his opinion on Saka earlier this month and he has been forced to justify it ever since.

Many Arsenal fans would argue Bukayo Saka is already world-class (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Not yet,’ Ferdinand said on Vibe with Five on Saka’s world-class credentials. ‘Listen. I think Saka’s been unreal.

‘I actually think he needs a bit of a rest, so many games for a young kid. But I think, it’s almost like what is world-class? He hasn’t done it in the Champions League, has he? I’m talking in the nitty-gritty stages.

‘Saka’s top, don’t get me wrong. He’s not world-class yet.’


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