Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has compared the club’s teenage forward Amad Diallo to former Red Devils winger Cristiano Ronaldo, claiming that there are parallels between the transfers of both players. The 20-time Premier League champions finalised a £37million deal to bring Diallo to the club from Atalanta earlier this month, with the Ivorian winger penning a four-and-a-half year deal at Old Trafford.
The 19-year-old has been tipped to achieve great things at United after impressing in Italy at youth level, claiming 28 goals and assists in 46 matches for Atalanta’s under-19 side.
His senior career has been restricted to just five outings including a substitute appearance during the club’s Champions League draw with Midtjylland at the beginning of December.
Despite his lack of experience, Ferdinand believes that Diallo can flourish at United with the former defender backing him to become one of the world’s best players in the years to come.
Ferdinand compared the winger’s signing with the situation regarding Ronaldo’s arrival at the club in 2003, when the mercurial Portuguese forward was a relatively unknown young prospect plying his trade with Sporting Lisbon.
“We just bought a kid in from Atalanta and hopefully he does something [to boost United’s season],” Ferdinand said in a video posted to his Five YouTube channel.
“If you see his clips and speak to some of the people at the club that were involved in buying him, potentially this kid could be an absolute world beater.
“I think that’s the thoughts of Manchester United people that they’ve unearthed… I’m not going to give him that pressure of Cristiano Ronaldo, but nobody knew about Ronaldo when we bought him really other than people in Portugal.
“This kid seems quite similar in that sense. if you see his clips and the way people talk about him then I think the world is his oyster if he applies himself right.”
Diallo has been on United’s radar for some time with scouts having tracked his development for around five years prior to launching a transfer approach.
Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke of his delight after confirming the news earlier this month, claiming that the Ivorian is very much one for the future at Old Trafford.
“As a club, we have followed Amad for a number of years and having watched him myself, I believe he is one of the most exciting young prospects in the game,” Solskjaer told the club website.
“Manchester United has such a proud history of developing young players and everything is in place to enable Amad to reach his potential here.
“It will take time for him to adapt but his speed, vision and fantastic dribbling ability will stand him in good stead to make the transition.
“He is a player with all of the raw attributes that are needed to be an important player for Manchester United in the years to come.”