Former England captain hails the departing Van der Sar but insists he is not thinking about his own future just yet, and also reveals he would have Ronaldo in his team before Messi
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is confident that his side can handle the threat of Barcelona star Lionel Messi in Saturday's Champions League final at Wembley.
The 32-year-old is familiar with the Argentine's La Liga goalscoring rival Cristiano Ronaldo from his time at Old Trafford, and insists despite Messi's "phenomenal" record, he would still prefer the Real Madrid striker in his side.
Speaking to The Sun, Ferdinand said: "There aren't enough words out there to describe the little fella [Messi].
"His goalscoring record this season is phenomenal. He's scored more than 50 - and Ronnie is just behind.
"If you look at the stats, Messi is the best player in the world.
"But I'd still take Ronaldo in my team before Messi. That's probably because I've played with him and I think he suits English football better.
"Messi is a great player, though, and he does some breathtaking stuff. But I believe we can deal with him and I'm confident we can win it. This time I'm determined to enjoy my holiday and that will only happen if I've got that trophy in my hands again."
Ferdinand also led the tributes for Edwin van der Sar ahead of what will be the Dutchman's final game for the club before retiring, and has insisted the 40-year-old keeper is more than just a safe pair of hands.
He continued: "In today's football you've got to be good with your feet whatever position you are, even if you're a keeper.
"You can be the best shot stopper in the world but if you haven't got good feet at Manchester United, you aren't going to survive. Edwin is brilliant whether the ball comes on his left or right foot.
"He's the best keeper I've seen with his feet and the best I've played with full-stop. He sweeps everything up and, as a defender, you can be totally confident giving the ball back to him.
"He's brilliant, he talks, he's a studier of the game and he understands it all. He makes you feel comfortable when you've got him behind you. He's calm and cool and we have a great partnership."
The former Manchester United and England captain also noted Van der Sar's unique opportunity to retire whilst at the "very top" of his profession, and respects his decision to leave the game before his performance levels begin to drop.
"Everyone was singing 'One more year' at our do after the game against Blackburn when we won the Premier League title," he added.
"He enjoyed that but he wasn't going to change his mind. I spoke to him about it at lunch the other day but you have to understand that he's going out at the very, very top. Not many players get the choice to do that and he's got that choice.
"Next year he could play and he might look his age and if he goes out with a whimper, it's not the same. You've got to respect his decision."
The retirement of the Manchester United No.1 has not prompted Ferdinand to consider his own future, with the former West Ham and Leeds United defender insisting he is not ready to hang up his boots just yet.
"The time is coming when I will be the old guy in the side but that's all right," he said.
"As long as I'm fit, I'm happy. When I'm not fit, I'm not happy. If I'm playing and involved, then being the elder statesman's not a problem.
"I don't think about whether injuries will come back. I just look at the next game. If you worry about injuries, you tend to get injured.
"I don't look too many seasons ahead. Get through this season and on to the next and we'll go from there."