With Manchester United 4/11 to dispense of Sevilla in Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial – and money back on selected bets if the former England centre-half finds the back of the net – we look at some great moments in the career of Ferdinand the player, as well as catching a glimpse of what the future may hold for the 81-times capped former England man.
Bursting on the scene at World Cup 2002
Ferdinand’s commanding and assured performances alongside Sol Campbell in Japan and South Korea convinced Sir Alex Ferguson to stump up £30m for his services, a then British-record fee. England brushed aside last 16 opponents Denmark in a 3-0 win, with Thomas Sorenson bundling the ball over the line under pressure from Ferdinand for the opening goal.
Scoring the last-minute winner against rivals Liverpool in 2006
With just seven goals in almost 300 league appearances for United, Ferdinand can probably describe them all in detail, but the one that sticks out is his last-minute winner against Liverpool in January 2006. Pepe Reina couldn’t get near the defender’s powerful header, which prompted manic celebrations – particularly from United’s Gary Neville – as the Red Devils took the points and landed a big psychological blow on their nearest title rivals.
Lifting the Champions League in 2008
With club captain Neville out with a long-term injury and deputy Ryan Giggs only on as a late substitute, Ferdinand took the armband against Chelsea in Moscow and skippered the side as United overcame their Premier League rivals on penalties to claim their third European Cup, with Ferdinand and Giggs lifting the trophy together after the game.
Interviewing Roger Federer in 2009
Ferdinand gave us a glimpse of life after football when he teamed up with 17-time Grand Slam winner and Nike stablemate Roger Federer in 2009, taking his first steps into the world of media with a short interview about the upcoming US Open and the Swiss legend’s sixth Wimbledon victory a few weeks earlier.
Shaking off injury to play in Tony Carr’s testimonial in 2010
Despite initially pulling out of the tribute game for former West Ham academy director Tony Carr, the ex-Hammer managed 28 minutes after late permission from Ferguson to turn out for his old mentor, who also brought Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Michael Carrick through the ranks at the Boleyn Ground, amongst others.