Rio Ferdinand names his top five athletes in the world

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Football News

Rio Ferdinand entertained his 6.8 million Twitter followers by hosting a Q&A on the social media site on Thursday afternoon.

The Manchester United hero discussed Sir Alex Ferguson, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and even the late Notorious B.I.G.

He was also asked to name the top five athletes in the world and showed his knowledge of a variety of sports in his response.


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The former England defender included Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi among his answer, which is hardly a surprise given their footballing achievements.

Sprinter Usain Bolt, UFC fighter Conor McGregor and NBA superstar Steph Curry made up his selection.

That’s some list of athletes. It includes the fastest man in the world, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, a three-time Ballon d’Or winner, the reigning NBA MVP and the current UFC featherweight champion.

It could, however, be argued that Messi is the least athletic of the quintet. Instead of relying on his physical ability, the Barcelona star looks to his incredible technique to help him score an obscene amount of goals each season.

Ferdinand certainly knows how to pick a winner.

Of course, the 37-year-old was a regular winner himself.

Ferdinand became the world’s most expensive defender when he joined Manchester United from Leeds for £30 million in 2002.

He went on to win six Premier League titles, three League Cups at one Champions League during a 12-year stay at the Red Devils.

If Ferdinand had been asked to name his top five athletes a decade ago, he might have included himself on the list.

Ferdinand hasn't been replaced at Old Trafford

United have tried to replace Ferdinand following his departure in 2014 but their efforts to find such a commanding defender have proved fruitless.

Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Marcus Rojo have failed to fill Ferdinand’s shoes while Chris Smalling, hardly a world-beater, has established himself as the club’s best centre-back.

Oh how they must miss watching Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic defending Edwin van der Saar’s goal at Old Trafford. The former Leeds defender was asked during the Q&A to name the best centre-back he played alongside, to which he replied “Vida”.

It will likely be Smalling and Daley Blind at the heart of United’s defence in Thursday’s Europa League last 16 tie against Liverpool.

Pre-match banter with Jamie Carragher

Ferdinand will be watching the match at Anfield and got involved with some pre-match banter with Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher.

After Carragher joked that he needed a “couple of stiff drinks” to calm his nerves, Ferdinand replied: “Tell me about it….I’d take a draw now…and take you boys back to OT and pump ya’s!! #LFCvsMUFC”, much to the delight of United fans around the world.

The two defenders clashed several times during their playing days but it was a shame they never went head-to-head on a European night. Thursday’s clash certainly would have had extra spice if the likes of Ferdinand, Carragher, Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes were all playing.

Who are your top five athletes in the world? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi
Rio Ferdinand

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