Rio Ferdinand insisted Cristiano Ronaldo has a unique brand of star power after watching his former Man United team-mate Tyson Fury take on Francis Ngannou.
The event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, featured one of the most star-studded guest lists ever for a boxing match, including Kanye West, Ronaldo Nazario and Eminem, as well as a number of martial arts legends.
Ferdinand insisted he is “living the dream” of spending time with some of the sport’s greats.
“I lived the dream. I grew up with Mike Tyson – he was there. Larry Holmes, Floyd Mayweather. There were so many people that I could go on and on.’ said Ferdinand.
“Prince Naseem, I haven’t seen him in years and we waggled our chins a little. You’ll never get so many superstars under one roof.’
Rio Ferdinand said his former Man United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo left the star-studded attendees in awe at the gala ahead of Tyson Fury’s clash with Francis Ngannou
Ronaldo posed alongside the WBC heavyweight champion ahead of Saturday’s main event
After hanging up his boots and retiring from football in 2015, Ferdinand briefly pursued his own career in the ring and announced in 2017 that he intended to make his professional debut as a heavyweight.
Ultimately, however, Ferdinand would be denied a fighting license by the British Boxing Board of Control.
But despite expressing his admiration for the stars of the Square Circle, Ferdinand revealed that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is on another level of fame.
“You sit there and see all these big names, but as soon as he walks in the building it lights up and everyone is in the background.”
Legendary American rapper Eminem posed with Francis Ngannou at the gala
Meanwhile, Brazilian Ronaldo was photographed with Mike Tyson, who trained Ngannou for this fight
“You see, there are stars and legends and superstars and then there’s this guy.”
Ferdinand arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 2002 and started in the famous pre-season friendly the following year, where Sir Alex Ferguson spotted the teenage winger’s prodigious talent.
Ronaldo joined United shortly afterwards and the pair enjoyed unprecedented dominance as part of Ferguson’s all-conquering side in the late 2000s before Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid.