All of Alex Ferguson’s greatest squads have one thing in common – efficient centre backs. In his autobiography, he speaks at great length about how a solid defence is the foundation of a winning squad.
Nemanja Vidic was probably one of his best centre backs ever. As he completes a deal to move to Inter Milan at the end of the season, it is time to reflect on his trophy laden time at Old Trafford.
Vidic signed for Manchester United on 25 December 2005 for now what looks a very paltry figure of £ 7million.
His first appearance in a United jersey came in a 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers as a substitute. He blended in immediately and rose up through the pecking order and became an established first team player at the start of the 2006-07 Premier League season.
His partnership with Rio Ferdinand at the heart of the defence came to be regarded as one of the most dreaded and prominent pairings in European football. It formed the base on which Manchester United went on to win three consecutive Premier League titles.
His no nonsense attitude and aggressive defending provided Manchester United with a bite at the back not seen at Old Trafford since the days of Steve Bruce.
Brave like a lion, Vidic hassled the very best of strikers and made last ditch tackles like it’s the end of the world. In no time, Vidic became a fans' favourite at Old Trafford. Chants of “Nemanja…Ooh…he comes from Serbia…He’ll f***ing murder ya” reverberated around Old Trafford every time he made a terrific tackle.
His performances and attitude got him the respect of his teammates. A born leader, he was made club and team captain at the start of the 2010-11 Premier League season. Vidic also has a good goalscoring record for a defender.
His ability to win headers left him in good stead for corners and indirect free kicks. More than just about numbers, it was his uncanny ability to lift the team spirit by scoring just when he needed to. Be it the goal against Aston Villa late in the game to grab a point in his first season as captain or his goal which ended Chelsea’s title aspirations during the same season.
The following seasons were relatively injury laden for Vidic. Yes, he has had his fair share of trouble with his calf and knee. A knee injury sustained during Manchester United’s Champions League clash at Basel during December ended his 2011-12 season there and then.
Over the course of the past nine years, Vidic has been tremendous for the club both as a player and a leader. He won a staggering five Premier League titles and 10 cup titles at the club including a Champions league medal.
The Old Trafford faithful will always be thankful to the Serbian for his service to the club and his name for sure will enter the folklore of the romance that is Manchester United.
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