Rio Ferdinand has told how Nemanja Vidic wasn’t immediately rated by his team-mates at Manchester United.
The Serbian defender announced his retirement earlier today and there have been plenty of tributes paid his way since.
Including the following from former defensive partner Ferdinand, who insists the United team weren’t impressed by Vidic when he first arrived at the club in 2005.
Arriving from Spartak Moscow in a £7million deal, much was expected from Vidic – but things didn’t get off to the best start as he struggled to cope with the step up in quality that comes with moving from the Russian league to the English Premier League.
Ferdinand recalled his arrival at the club while paying tribute on Facebook alongside a picture of some of their best moments together:
“Vida – my man
“”Where is he from”….”he is well out of his depth”… these were the type of comments flying around the training ground after the first few training sessions we saw Vida!
“So to see what an unbelievable force he became while at Manchester United means the work he committed himself to physically and mentally is truly huge.
“You have to remember he was playing against great strikers (Cristiano Ronaldo, Robin van Persie, Saha, Wayne Rooney) in training everyday, a big step up from the players in the Russian league. But in a dressing room it’s a cold world where judgements are passed quickly without remorse – and Vida was judged! Vida is a deep thinker, he was then as he is now…so the questioning himself from all angles would have been frying his head the first few months at the club while struggling in training.
“He worked on his strength in the gym, worked out what was needed for him to succeed in the Premier League and then started to establish himself in our team.
“I’m always asked about our partnership, did you do specific training etc….Not really no, it was something that just worked very naturally. He was very aggressive, loved attacking the first ball in or out of the box, getting right into the opposing strikers & I liked the sweeping up and covering type stuff…but our partnership brought out the best in our games and made us strive harder to be the best.
“My favourite partner to play alongside – YES.
“He became a defender that was feared, he could fight with the most physical, he crunched into tackles, he attacked the ball better than anyone I’ve ever seen….but as he will tell you with a smile, he could also play with the ball too, which made him complete & a great defender. Because he was so good in the aggressive/attacking the ball areas people probably looked over his ability with the ball to his annoyance!
“As a friend he is made of the top stuff, always honest & thoughtful but also game for a laugh (when he is ready)!
Manchester United miss him now & so will football.
“What a player…..what a guy….
“Welcome to retirement bro!
Vidic had nine seasons at United before leaving the club to sign a deal with Italian giants Inter Milan.
And after his contract there expiring earlier this month, he’s been quick to announce his retirement.
Ferdinand had 12 seasons at Old Trafford, but won eight major trophies alongside the man he believes is the greatest defensive partner he’s ever had.
United fans – how good were Vidic and Ferdinand together?