Nemanja Vidic made his final appearance at Old Trafford as a Manchester United player on Wednesday evening and, following this farewell outing, long-term defensive partner Rio Ferdinand has lavished praise on the veteran Serbian.
Ferdinand and Vidic formed one of the most iconic centre-back pairings of the Premier League era during eight years together at the club, with the latter having arrived from Spartak Moscow as a relative unknown in England.
It took a while, however, for Vidic to convince Ferdinand that he was a reputable acquisition by Sir Alex Ferguson, with the latter conceding he had doubted the soon-to-be Inter Milan star’s credentials during his first few training sessions as a Manchester United player.
“We formed a defensive partnership that was expected to get the better of any strikers we played against and more often than not we did,” Ferdinand posted on his official Facebook page.
“However it wasn’t always like this, it took time for us to grow into a dominant force after a start where even I questioned if he was the right guy to come in after his first few training sessions.”
But Vidic, of course, did establish himself as a force to be reckoned with at Manchester United and, alongside Ferdinand for much of the time, was able to win five Premier League titles and reach the final of the Champions League on three occasions.
And Ferdinand says he and Vidic were able to form such an imposing combination given the aggressive way in which the former Serbia international approaches his game.
"Nemanja Vidic - what a great player... a top professional footballer at Manchester United. He’s a strong defender that attacks the ball like no one else I have played with,” Ferdinand said.
“Has all the attributes of a top defender by being aggressive, competitive and is better on the ball than he is given credit for!
He added: “Eight years on he is a credit to the club, a winner and a great guy on and off the pitch....Vida!"