5 - Rio Ferdinand Profile

On 22 July 2002, Ferdinand joined another Premier League club, Manchester United, on a five year deal to become the most expensive British footballer in history, the world's most expensive defender again (a title he had lost in 2001 to Lilian Thuram). The fee included a basic element in the high twenty millions, and some conditional elements, which allowed Leeds to tell their fans that they were selling him for over thirty million. Leeds United later took a single payment in place of all the contingent elements when they were desperate for cash during their financial crisis. The final book value of Ferdinand's contract in Manchester United's accounts was 33 million. This included agents' fees, with Leeds receiving in the region of 30 million. Ferdinand suffered from a lack of form at the start of his Manchester United career; a fact most illustrated by his poor performance against Real Madrid in the Champions League.

In 2003, he failed to attend a drug test, claiming he had forgotten because he was preoccupied with moving houses and instead went shopping. The FA Disciplinary Committee chaired by Barry Bright imposed an eight month ban from January 2004 at club and international level and a 50,000 fine, meaning he would miss the rest of the league season and some of the next along with all of Euro 2004. Manchester United appealed against the verdict and sought to draw parallels to the case of Manchester City player Christian Negouai, who was fined 2,000 for missing a test. However, FIFA president Sepp Blatter stated that such comparisons are inappropriate due to differences between the two cases. Negouai had been stuck in traffic and was willing to take the test, while Ferdinand was charged with "failure or refusal" to attend the test. Both the FA and FIFA sought to have the ban increased to 12 months (half the possible maximum). In the end, the original verdict was upheld.

Ferdinand went on to win the Premier League title with Manchester United in his first season. He has also collected a winner's medal in the 2006 Carling Cup, with runners-up medals in the 2003 Carling Cup and the 2005 FA Cup.

On 14 December 2005, in a game against Wigan Athletic, Ferdinand scored his first goal for United, en route to a 40 victory. This was his first goal after more than three years at Old Trafford. He followed this up with a powerfully headed goal against West Bromwich Albion. He then scored a last minute winner against Liverpool at Old Trafford, possibly his most important Manchester United goal to date. In the corresponding fixture in the following season on 22 October 2006, Rio scored again in a 20 victory.

Following impressive and consistent performances in the league, Rio Ferdinand was named in the 200607 PFA Premiership Team of the Season alongside seven of his fellow Manchester United teammates.

Ferdinand started the 200708 season well, he was part of a United defence that managed to keep six clean sheets in a row in the Premier League, before conceding an early goal to Aston Villa at Villa Park on 20 October 2007. It was also during this game where Ferdinand scored his first goal of the season, which was United's third goal of that game, with a left foot strike which took a very strong deflection off one of Villa's defenders. Just three days later, Ferdinand scored his first European goal for United by opening the scoring against Dynamo Kyiv, with a superb header. United dominated the game and won 42.

On 12 January 2008 Ferdinand bagged a rare Premier League goal in a 60 hammering of Newcastle United at Old Trafford.

In their FA Cup quarter-final match against Portsmouth on 8 March 2008 when Manchester United dominated, Ferdinand made a rare appearance as a goalkeeper, after Edwin van der Sar left the pitch with a groin injury and the replacement keeper, Tomasz Kuszczak, was sent off after conceding a penalty. Despite diving the right way, he was unable to save Sulley Muntari's spot kick, and Manchester United were eliminated from the FA Cup.

On 6 April 2008, against Middlesbrough, Ferdinand limped out of the match due to a foot injury. He was rated doubtful whether he would face A.S. Roma in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg on 9 April 2008. He would play the full 90 minutes, though he received three stitches at half-time.

After United's 21 loss to Chelsea in the Premier League in April 2008 Ferdinand, angry at the defeat, swore at Chelsea stewards and tried to kick a wall in the tunnel, but instead kicked a female steward, Tracy Wray. Ferdinand claimed to have merely brushed her with his foot. Ferdinand said he apologised and sent the steward some flowers. However Wray disagreed and in the The Sun she showed the large bruise on her leg caused by Ferdinand 'brushing her with his foot'. Her husband also claimed that Ferdinand did not apologize or send flowers.

Despite having been linked with a move to Barcelona, it was announced on 16 April 2008 that, along with Michael Carrick and Wes Brown, Ferdinand had agreed to sign a new five-year contract, worth around 130,000 a week, which would keep him with United until 2013. The contract was finally signed on 15 May 2008.

On 21 May 2008, Ferdinand captained Manchester United to a Champions League Final victory versus Chelsea. He accepted the trophy together with Ryan Giggs, as Giggs was the on field captain for most of the matches during that season during Gary Neville's absence due to injury.

Related Rio Ferdinand News

  • Rio upbeat despite final defeat

    Rio Ferdinand insists Manchester United can look back on a good season despite another crushing Champions League final disappointment.

  • Ferdinand: Tie still in the balance

    Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United's Champions League quarter-final with Chelsea is still in the balance despite United's 1-0 away win.

  • Rio set to miss Anfield trip

    Sir Alex Ferguson does not expect Rio Ferdinand to be fit for Manchester United's trip to Liverpool at the weekend.

  • Smalling - I can't keep out Rio

    Chris Smalling accepts he will have to make way in the Manchester United defence once Rio Ferdinand returns to full fitness.

  • Ferdinand blow for United

    Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand faces two weeks on the sidelines after picking up a calf injury.

  • Ferdinand - United deserved win

    Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand insists his side were good value for their hard-fought 1-0 win over title rivals Arsenal.

  • Vidic - Rio recovery is vital

    Nemanja Vidic hopes Rio Ferdinand will shake off a hamstring complaint in time to face Arsenal.

  • Van der Sar hails Rio return

    Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has praised the form of Rio Ferdinand since his return from injury.

  • Fergie welcomes Rio return

    Sir Alex Ferguson is looking forward to having Rio Ferdinand back in the Manchester United team on a regular basis.

  • Rio poised for return

    Manchester United reserve team boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has declared Rio Ferdinand fit to make a first-team comeback.