Ryan Giggs’ cameo aside, the most emotional scene in Manchester United’s 3-1 victory over Hull City at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening was seeing their defensive rock and captain Nemanja Vidic play his last game for the Red Devils.
Soon, their loss will be Inter Milan and Serie A’s gain. They are gaining the ultimate gladiator in the Serb who has won trophies galore ever since joining back in 2006.
Back then he was a raw and promising talent. A slow start in England did not deter him from going on to better and greater things, and he will leave the country perhaps a little bit slower and fitter, but still a gladiator nonetheless.
His departure will leave a sizeable hole in the United defence, perhaps for the foreseeable future. With Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra also set to follow him out of Old Trafford, they could have a very different look about them next year.
For Inter, it is the first step in the rebuilding work so desperately needed. With Juventus just having scooped a third consecutive title, and the likes of Roma and Napoli way ahead of them in the league table, the need to spend big and add new recruits is greater than ever before.
Vidic will now be their rock. The murmurings that he is perhaps not the player of old, that his injury sustained in 2011 has hampered him for good, have very little sense when you examine his performances during United’s troubled season this term.
Against Bayern Munich particularly he was immense. In the first leg of the two teams clash last month he was exemplary, and also netted the opening goal with a trademark header.
Inter will know all about his heading ability given he scored the opener when United beat them 2-0 in the Champions League in 2009.
His experience of playing at the highest level will be another benefit. He has appeared in three Champions League finals, and won five Premier League titles at the English club. He will leave a decorated servant and club legend.
Speaking after last night’s victory, he told the adoring fans that gave him the loudest of standing ovations that the club ‘will always be in my heart.’
If Sir Alex Ferguson or Louis Van Gaal had been manager back in March when the deal was struck rather than David Moyes, things may have been different.
It will hurt knowing that losing their gladiator could possibly have been avoided after all.
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