They formed an imposing partnership at the heart of Manchester United’s defence for nine years, winning five Premier League titles and lifting the Champions League trophy together.
Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were one of the greatest duos in Premier League history, and the former has paid tribute to the latter on the day the Serbian announced his retirement from football.
Vidic joined United from Spartak Moscow for £7 million and established himself as one of the best defenders in the world.
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However, it wasn’t all plain sailing.
Ferdinand admitted that United players were sceptical that Vidic could cut it in England after his first training session and the defender had to improve physically and mentally in order to succeed at Old Trafford.
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The former England defender said: “‘Where is he from’…. ‘he is well out of his depth’… these were the type of comments flying around the training ground after the 1st few training sessions we saw Vida!
“So to see what an unbelievable force he became while at Man Utd means the work he committed himself to physically and mentally is truly huge.”
Vidic worked hard
It’s not surprising that Vidic struggled to defend against Cristiano Ronaldo, Louis Saha and Wayne Rooney when he signed for Sir Alex Ferguson’s team. Not one striker in Russia would have come close to the array of talent at United in 2006.
But Vidic worked hard in the gym and quickly became a defender who was “feared” and “crunched into tackles”, according to Ferdinand, who also called Vidic a “complete and a great defender.”
He also won three League Cups and a Club World Cup during a nine-year spell at United.
The time has come
Vidic, 34, cited injuries as the cause of his retirement. He left Inter Milan by mutual consent earlier this month after failing to make a single appearance for the Italian club this season and told United’s website: “The time has come for me to hang up my boots. The injuries I have had in the last few years have taken their toll.”
Unsurprisingly, Ferdinand called Vidic his “favourite partner to play alongside.”
Where does the Vidic-Ferdinand partnership rank in the history of great centre-half pairings?
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