Top 5 moments of Rio Ferdinand's career
There is one particular category of players who we could say were born in the wrong era. As far as I am concerned, Rio Ferdinand is the first name that comes to the mind. Franz Beckenbauer, arguably the best defender the football world has ever seen, made his name playing as a ‘sweeper’.
In an era when such ball playing, pacy and elegant defenders are getting extinct – perhaps from the evolution of the game or due to the tactical rigidity – England missed out on the 21st century Beckenbauer. In Rio, British football had a gem. A wasted gem. A rare breed of defender with immaculate ball control, vision, speed and an eye for a pass.
Nevertheless, as Rio announces his retirement from professional football he will be remembered as an England great and a Manchester United legend.The former West Ham United academy graduate is one of the most decorated English players of his time.
His trophy tally reads as 6 Premier League Titles, 3 League Cups, 6 Community Shields, 1 FA Cup, 1 Champions League crown and 1 Fifa Club World Cup. The 12-year illustrious career at Manchester United developed him into one of the best defenders the Premier League era has seen.
Let us look at the top moments of Rio Ferdinand’s career.
During the 1997-98 season, Rio had a phenomenal season with the Hammers. At such tender age, he showed great maturity and went on to win the Hammer of the year award. The youngster was grabbing attention from big clubs.
Manchester United was reported to have made an enquiry which was eventually turned down. Glen Hoddle, then England manager was more than convinced by the remarkable potential shown by Ferdinand.
On 15th November 1997, Rio Ferdinand made his international debut in a friendly against Cameroon. The 19-year-old talented teenager was the youngest ever defender to play for the country.
Transfer from Leeds United to Manchester United
When Sir Alex Ferguson signed Rio Ferdinand from Leeds United for what was believed to be £29.1m, it made him the most expensive British player and the most expensive defender in the world for a second time.
Eyebrows were raised and Manchester United’s transfer policy was questioned. But the critics who labelled him as an overrated player would now be hanging their head in shame because Rio has simply achieved everything at Old Trafford. Under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, Rio developed into the finest defender of his generation second to probably only John Terry.
He established his place at the heart of Manchester United defence. In a trophy-laden successful career, Rio would go on to make into Premier League PFA team of the year for 6 times.