The Portugal captain, who moved to the Bernabeu from the Red Devils in 2009 for a record £80m, will return to his former home on March 5 following the Champions League round-of-16 first leg in Madrid on Wednesday.
"The fans appreciated him when he was here and since he's been gone they sing his name," Ferdinand told UEFA.com. "He came here a young boy and left a world-class player. He showed a lot of respect when he left and still does."
Meanwhile, the North-West outfit are currently 12 points clear in the Premier League title race.