Manchester United favourite Rio Ferdinand has revealed that he rejected offers from the likes of Madrid and Barcelona whilst he was at the club, in order to remain a Red Devil.
Quotes relayed by the Sunday Express confirm that the centre-back, who now plays for QPR following the expiration of his contract at Old Trafford this summer, was approached by some of Europe’s biggest clubs during his peak years at United, and turned down the opportunity to take up what could potentially have been a large pay-rise. Ferdinand spent 12 trophy-laden years under Sir Alex Ferguson, and then David Moyes, and there was a period during that spell where he was considered amongst the best centre-backs in the world.
However, despite the allures of La Liga’s top two clubs - which have snuffled the desires of many Premier League clubs with regards to keeping their top assets - the 35-year-old has claimed he snubbed them to stay true to United.
"I spoke to Roma and there was also interest from Barcelona and Madrid at one time, but when I was at Manchester United and there was interest from other clubs I was winning things at Manchester United. So my head was never turned to go anywhere else,” Ferdinand claims.
"You tell someone from Manchester United or a team that's winning things that they could go abroad and you would be hard pressed to get them to go.”
Looking to the future it’s been made clear on multiple occasions that Ferdinand is keen to continue playing at the highest level for as long as he can, rather than turning his focus fully to punditry like former team-mate Gary Neville.
When his career at United finished many would have assumed that his boots would have been hung up in haste, but the ex-England international has told in recent weeks how he is looking forward to a fairytale ending to his career by being managed once more by Harry Redknapp.
The 67-year-old manager oversaw Ferdinand’s development as a youngster, and will now be hoping that the player can be a big enough presence in the back-line to ensure his newly-promoted side aren’t relegated at the first time of asking.
Changing of the guard
It came as quite a shock for many United fans to see Ferdinand, Vidic and Patrice Evra all leave during the same transfer window, particularly given the fact that Ryan Giggs had already signalled his intentions to retire after last season. Such an exodus of veteran stars from the squad has significantly weakened the club with regards to the experience the team has, and it says plenty about Van Gaal’s intentions moving forward.
The Dutchman was tipped to instigate large-scale change, and has already clarified that he will be making big calls on the futures of a number of first-team stars in the coming weeks. The careers of a number of players hang in the balance as the new Premier League season looms, and Ferdinand and co. may well have been wise in looking to find a new club earlier on in the window.