Bukayo Saka: Rio Ferdinand Explains Why Arsenal Star Is Not World Class

Bukayo Saka: Rio Ferdinand Explains Why Arsenal Star Is Not World Class

Elijah Odetokun
updated at February 13, 2024 at 8:21 AM
In this article:
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  • English pundit Rio Ferdinand is on the wrong side of Arsenal fans
  • The former player claimed Bukayo Saka is not world-class yet
  • The United legend explained why he drew the conclusion

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has made a bold claim that Bukayo Saka is yet to be a world-class player, and he has explained his reason.

Saka came through the ranks of the Arsenal academy and made his first team debut in 2018 under Unai Emery. He has been one of the consistent performers on the team.

Bukayo Saka, Arsenal, West Ham, London Olympic Stadium, Premier League.
Bukayo Saka celebrates after scoring his first goal in Arsenal's 6-0 win over West Ham. Photo by Julian Finney.
Source: Getty Images

He was crucial to the Gunners’ title run last season, which unfortunately ended with Manchester City usurping Mikel Arteta’s men and winning a third consecutive title.

Per Sky Sports, he became the youngest player to score 50 goals for the club since Frank Stapleton in 1978 and has 51 goals and 49 assists for his boyhood club.

Ferdinand downplays Saka’s status

Former player and pundit Rio Ferdinand disagrees that Saka is a world-class player and claims he has to do it outside of the local scene to be recognised.

“Not yet,” he said on Vibe with Five when asked if the Hale End graduate is world-class. “Listen, I think Saka’s been unreal. I actually think he needs a bit of a rest, so many games for a young kid.
“But I think it’s almost like what is world-class? He hasn’t done it in the Champions League, has he? I’m talking in the nitty-gritty stages. Saka’s top, don’t get me wrong. He’s not world-class yet.”

The claim was expectedly met with disagreement from the fans. At 22, to have amassed 100 goals contributions for a club like Arsenal is remarkable.

From another perspective, this season is Saka’s first in the UEFA Champions League. He scored three goals and assisted four in five group-stage games.

Ferdinand calls out Douglas Luiz

Sports Brief reported on Ferdinand calling out Douglas Luiz after the Aston Villa midfielder shimmied in front of Andre Onana during Manchester United's 2-1 win.

The Brazilian responded to the post on social media and explained the celebration, which was found to be accurate and meant no disrespect.

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Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.