Lyon: Former Manchester United full-back Rafael da Silva has heaped praise on his former teammate Rio Ferdinand and referred to him as the best defender he has played with so far in his career.
Rafael held the right-back position as his own for six years at Old Trafford and won the Premier League title three times.
While he formed a formidable partnership with Ferdinand at the back, he also gave able support to Cristiano Ronaldo, who wrecked havoc while playing at right wing.
Rafael spoke about Ferdinand's leadership qualities and revealed how he used to shout at Ronaldo, who had already become a world superstar, to make him defend during games.
"Rio Ferdinand is the best defender I played with, by far. He was a good leader. For me a centre-back has got to be a leader," Rafale told ESPN.
"When I arrived at Manchester United, Ronaldo was one of the best already. I used to see Rio just saying, 'Come back! Come back!' He used to shout at him.
"So a leader is that, because you have to speak with your best player because he has to defend as well, because if he is not defending it is hard for us," he added.
After his fine spell in Manchester, Rafael moved to Queen Park Rangers in 2014 before sealing a transfer to French heavyweights Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon).
Barcelona stars have also spoken about their admiration for Neymar and aren't against his return despite his unceremonious exit from the club few years ago.
"Everybody knows 'Ney', we all know the affection we have for him in the dressing room," Suarez was quoted as saying by Mundo Deportivo last month.
"His ability is indisputable and he still has so much to show. He will always be welcome in the changing room, we appreciate him a lot."