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Rio Ferdinand speaks to passengers over tannoy on Ryanair flight to Porto

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was captured making some tongue-in-cheek comments over the airplane tannoy on a Ryanair flight to Porto.

Ferdinand, 45, was flying to Portugal’s second city on 20 February to take part in TNT Sport’s coverage of Arsenal’s game against FC Porto in the Champions League.

He happened to be on the same flight as plenty of travelling Arsenal fans, who began jokingly goading the ex-professional. Ferdinand had recently branded Bukayo Saka, an Arsenal fan-favourite, as not world-class.

Speaking on his Vibe with Five podcast, Ferdinand said that Saka, 22, “has been unreal. I actually think he needs a bit of a rest, [it’s] so many games for a young kid.

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

Videos uploaded to X – formerly known as Twitter – show Ferdinand sitting in the first row opposite members of the cabin crew, with a flight attendant smiling and laughing as Arsenal fans begin serenading the former England international.

The Daily Mail reports that Arsenal fans began giving renditions of a chant in which they call Saka “world class”, with Ferdinand deciding to respond over the plane’s tannoy.

Ferdinand himself posted a video, showing himself speaking as fans jokingly jeer and cheer in the background. The caption read: “Interesting Ryanair flight with the Arsenal fans this morning.

“Bukayo Saka is top levels… no doubt! And will become ‘World Class’”.

In the video, Ferdinand can be seen leaning over to the tannoy.

“Hello guys, I just want to say it’s been an absolute pleasure travelling with you Arsenal fans,” he said.

“I must say, Saka is a fantastic player, just not world class yet. He will be, but just not yet.”

Arsenal play Porto in the first leg of their round-of-16 Champions League tie on 21 February at 8pm. The return game will take place in London on 12 March.

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