"I think he's a fantastic footballer," Ferdinand told BBC Sport. "I don't think he gets the credit he deserves as a player for what he has achieved.
"He's probably one of the best players I've played with, if not the best, and continues to go from strength to strength.
"He will be appreciated more when he's retired. When we go abroad he's respected a lot more in foreign countries than in this country.
"When people throw names around saying someone's done this or done that for the Premier League, he very rarely gets mentioned.
"It's a shame we are not appreciating a player who's been the most successful footballer of our generation probably."