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Top 5 players who struggled after leaving Manchester United

Conor Lochrie
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16.69K   //    07 Feb 2018, 13:22 IST

Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic failed to find success after leaving Manchester United

Since the beginning of the English Premier League in 1992, Manchester United have been the biggest team in the country by far. 13 league titles, all overseen by the great Sir Alex Ferguson, meant the club overtook Liverpool as England's most successful team, something which the Scottish manager always aimed to accomplish.

Due to their great achievements, Manchester United have been, perhaps only matched by Real Madrid and Barcelona, as the most attractive club for a top player to play his football with.

The list of legends to have graced the Old Trafford pitch is great and lengthy: Cristiano Ronaldo became world-class here before leaving for Real Madrid; David Beckham became a global icon as the greatest free-kick taker in football at the club.

For many, playing for them is the pinnacle of their career. However, not all go on to find success elsewhere, as Ronaldo famously managed to do, and this slideshow looks at 5 Manchester United players who never reached the same level after departing the club, and have struggled in football since leaving them.

#5 Rio Ferdinand

Queens Park Rangers v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Ferdinand had lost too much speed and athleticism when he joined QPR

One of England's greatest ever defenders, Ferdinand formed perhaps the greatest centre-back pairings with Nemanja Vidic in Premier League history. They were the rock which Ferguson built his team of the 2000's on and the two were perfectly balanced: Ferdinand was the graceful one who liked to pass the ball out of defence, Vidic was the rugged tackler who struck fear into forwards.

In 12 years at the club, Ferdinand made over 300 league appearances, amassing a considerable trophy cabinet along the way (he claimed an astonishing 6 league winners' medals).

The player was already 36 when he left the club and could have perhaps retired, but Ferdinand stuck around for 1 more season, signing for newly promoted Queens Park Rangers.

His 2014/2015 seasons would prove so terrible that it makes him unfortunately worthy of inclusion on this list. Signed as the experienced head to lead QPR's defence, Ferdinand managed only 11 league appearances and simply looked past it.


He was sluggish, tired and became a weak link anytime he was on the pitch. His new club suffered relegation in their first season back in the Premier League, and Ferdinand was unceremoniously released from his contract.

His sad campaign merely confirmed that he should have retired after his years of success at Manchester United, and that season is the only negative in Ferdinand's distinguished career.

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Conor Lochrie
Freelance writer, massive football fan! Currently living in New Zealand.
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