Nemanja Vidic will forever be adored by Manchester United fans for his warrior-like spirit.
One of the greatest defenders in Premier League history, the Serbian colossus was feared by strikers across the land for his do-or-die and win-at-all-costs mentality.
We can’t even begin to imagine how intimidating it must have been lining up against a player who made wiping out number nines and putting their body on the line just an everyday activity.
Vidic’s Fernando Torres rivalry
However, there were a select few strikers that could hold their own against the United great and none other than Fernando Torres has long been touted as Vidic’s kryptonite.
With clips of ‘El Nino’ leaving Vidic flat on his face doing the rounds every year, you’d feel certain that the ex-Inter Milan defender would rank him amongst the toughest opponents he ever faced.
Well, that doesn’t appear to be the case because Torres didn’t actually get a mention when Vidic was asked about the most difficult adversaries that he faced in the Premier League.
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When Vidic named his toughest opponents
Speaking to The Athletic in 2019, Vidic actually started his list by explaining: “My first experience was Peter Crouch. I’d never seen a two-metres tall player before.
“He played for Liverpool and we played them in a cup game at Anfield. I was thinking ‘Wow, what can I do today with this guy?’
“Then I saw Bellamy next to him, not a great player on the ball but very, very fast. He would run into space, Crouch would jump into the air. I’d never seen football played like this.
“I’d never had a No. 9 and a sharp, fast, player next to him. I knew how to deal with them individually but not both of them at the same time. I played alongside Wes Brown, it was a tough game, a long game. We lost 1-0.”
Vidic then added Chelsea legend Didier Drogba to his list, saying: “He was a very clever player who would get into the brain of the defenders. He was strong, but he was always thinking ahead.
“He would think, ‘If the defender pushes me now I will go down’ or ‘Next time I will go strong’
“He scored so many important goals, he was very consistent. I played against him when we were both at the peak of our careers.”
The United great then rounded things off with his final two picks, remarking: “I’m convinced that Aguero was born as a defender. He knows where the ball will come and where he can attack.
“I played against him when they beat us 4-1 in the Moyes season.
“[Suarez is] an energetic player. He’s different from Aguero who doesn’t run for 90 minutes – he’s a player who uses instinct. Everything is done in bursts. I don’t think he knows exactly what he’s doing but he succeeds.
“The ball will go through a defender’s legs and people will think it’s an accident, but he has this sheer force to do it.”
No sign of Torres
In Vidic’s defence, the quartet of Crouch, Drogba, Aguero and Suarez does sound like a handful with everything from aerial presence, pace, strength and pure doggedness on display.
And it has been touted before that the narrative surrounding Vidic and Torres has been somewhat inflated by merely two or three incidents, though admittedly embarrassing ones, between the pair.
However, regardless of whether Vidic simply forgot about Torres or genuinely wouldn’t put him on the list, Kopites will forever love the images of him eating the Old Trafford turf behind ‘El Nino’.