By FOX SPORTS staff
The Portugese star's dazzling dribbles and wondrous free kicks still remain in the memory of Manchester United fans, but the fruits of Ronaldo's efforts are now reaped by Real Madrid.
Speaking to The Independent, Ferdinand was confident that his former team-mate would receive a warm reception from the Old Trafford faithful when Jose Mourinho's team come to visit in the second-leg of the clubs' Champions League Round of 16 tie.
"The fans appreciated him when he was here and since he's been gone they sing his name," he stated.
"He came here a young boy and left a world-class player. He showed a lot of respect when he left and still does."
The first game of the contest sees the Red Devils travel to the Santiago Bernabeu and the central defender revealed his plan to stop Ronaldo.
"You get as many people around the ball when he's got it as possible! But no, Madrid are that good a side you have to make sure you're set up right and that your team are in good positions all over the pitch to defend. That is the most important thing," he said.
"There are going to be times in the game that you're going to be left one-on-one with Ronaldo and other strikers that they've got, and we've got to be capable of defending and doing well in those situations. And I think the team that does best in those situations will come out of it victorious."
Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Ferdinand were part of the squad that lost to Los Blancos the last time the two sides met in the 2003/04 quarter-finals. Although the 34-year recalled the hat-trick scored by Brazilian forward Ronaldo, it was then Real skipper Raul who posed the biggest challenge.
"The away game – they really played us off the park if I'm honest,and then at our place Ronaldo scored a hat-trick. I thought our keeper [Fabien Barthez] could have done better to be honest, but he scored a hat-trick and Becks [David Beckham] got two that night as well," Ferdinand recalled.
"Raul was just difficult to get up against. He played off [the front] and asked you the question: 'Do you want to come in here and mark me? If you come in here someone else will run in the space that you leave or I'll just get it, turn and play it in the space that you leave.' In terms of making you think, he definitely was the most intelligent player I've played against."
Prior to travelling to Madrid, Manchester United will contest their Premier League fixture against Everton on Sunday.