Pique signed for United as a teenager in 2004 and went on to make 23 appearances in a four-year spell that was punctuated by a year on loan with Real Zaragoza, before a move to Barcelona in 2008 and a series of trophies with the Spanish giants.
"Everyone knew Pique had talent," said Ferdinand. "But English football is different.
"If you asked him if he could have been where he is now if he had been playing for Manchester United, he would probably have said 'I don't know'.
"When you get a chance, you have to take it. He has gone to Spain, is winning trophies with Barcelona and is doing fantastically well, so you have to give him credit for that."