Rio Ferdinand mocks Graeme Souness for Casemiro criticism; is ‘licking his lips’ over Man Utd arrival

Rio Ferdinand, Wolves v Man Utd January 2020

Rio Ferdinand has hit back at fellow pundit Graeme Souness after he said Casemiro ‘is not a great player’ and that the midfielder was ‘lucky to be in that Real Madrid team’.

Casemiro has ended his seven-year spell with the Spanish titans by joining Manchester United. The Red Devils have spent an initial £60million on him, though the transfer could reach £70m through add-ons.

Casemiro has penned a four-year contract at Old Trafford and his deal includes the option of another year.

Ahead of the 2-1 Manchester United win over Liverpool, Roy Keane and Gary Neville spoke about Casemiro’s signing.

Keane thinks the Brazilian is a ‘quality player’, although he will have to get used to his new team-mates not working as hard as their Real counterparts.

Neville, meanwhile, is worried about United giving a 30-year-old player a potential five-year deal. This could cause problems for Erik ten Hag’s managerial successor, or any future owner of the club.

During an appearance on talkSPORT, former Liverpool man Souness downplayed Casemiro’s arrival in Manchester.

He said: “You’re getting a ‘steady Eddie’. He was playing with great players, he’s not a great player, he’s never been a great player.

Casemiro ‘lucky’ to have had Real Madrid success – Souness

“I don’t think he’s got any great range of passing, I don’t think he’s going to make other people play.

“He was lucky to be in that Real Madrid team. I never look forward to watching Casemiro play, [Karim] Benzema, yes, the other players, definitely. I never think I’m really excited to watch Casemiro.”

After United’s surprise win over Liverpool, Ferdinand issued a response to Souness’ comments. He thinks Casemiro’s trophy cabinet speaks for itself, while he is ‘licking his lips’ over the midfielder improving Ten Hag’s team.

“Do you know what it is, I think it is because Sky Sports don’t do Champions League (coverage),” Ferdinand joked on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel (via Manchester Evening News).

Rio Ferdinand hits back at Souness – ‘you don’t watch [him]!’

“My man has five Champions Leagues. You (Souness) don’t watch it! Imagine adding Casemiro to that team with the way they played today, I’m licking my lips, man.”

Souness’ criticism of Casemiro certainly went too far. Yes, he isn’t a flashy or exciting player like Benzema or Vinicius Junior.

But Casemiro does his holding midfield role brilliantly, and this is what allowed his Real team-mates to shine.

It could be argued that a ‘steady Eddie’ is exactly what United need in their midfield right now. Fred and Scott McTominay have their positives but can also be rash or lack defensive awareness at times.

Casemiro, in contrast, is up there among the defensive midfielders in the game. As Ferdinand points out, his winning record is one of the best in the world.

He has won five Champions Leagues and three La Liga titles with Real, as well as making over 330 appearances for them. He is clearly a top player, otherwise he wouldn’t have won over so many Real managers.

Meanwhile, Edinson Cavani is reportedly close to joining a Spanish team after leaving United earlier this summer.