|Born||1978 11 07|
|Desc||The prototype defender of the modern age Ferdinand was the trailblazer for, and best example of, what is now a staple of every backline: the ball-playing centre-half. At his elegant peak Ferdinand made defending look easy and while others were perhaps more effective few did it so effortlessly. His partnership with Nemanja Vidic was the standard all others aspired to for years and still do to this day|
|Org||English National Team|
|Club as Player||Queens Park Rangers|
|West Ham United|
|Wife||Rebecca Ferdinand [passed away]|
|Boxing Coach||Richie Woodhall|
2013 11 05 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand on Paul Scholes] For me, it’s Paul Scholes. He’ll do ridiculous things in training like say, ‘You see that tree over there? – it’ll be 40 yards away – ‘I’m going to hit it’. And he’ll do it. Everyone at the club considers him the best
2014 09 20 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand on David Moyes’ reign at Manchester United] He’d slowly lost us. I didn’t enjoy playing under him. Sometimes our main tactic was the long, high, diagonal cross. It was embarrassing. It was always how to stop the other side. Moyes set us up not to lose. We’d been accustomed to playing to win
- 2015 05 02
- Rebecca Ferdinand passed away after a battle with breast cancer, aged just 34
2015 03 13 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand on Christiano Ronaldo] Is Ronaldo on par with all-time greats like Maradona and Pele? Yeah, absolutely, 100 per cent. Him and Messi, we are probably not giving them as much credit as they deserve because this is their era and we are seeing them play. The Brazilian Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, these guys were scoring 25 to 30 goals a season and we all said they were amazing and the greatest. If Messi and Ronaldo score 25 to 30 goals we are saying they are having a poor season. And they have been performing at the highest level for the last six or seven years
2015 05 02 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand on John Terry and Vidic] Just because we no longer get on does not mean I’ve lost my admiration for him as a footballer. There’s a reason why John and Nemanja have the type of noses they do and that’s because they like to attack every ball
2015 05 02b Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand announce his wife death] My soul mate slipped away last night. Rebecca, my wonderful wife, passed away peacefully after a short battle with cancer at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. She was a fantastic loving mother to our three beautiful children. She will be missed as a wife, sister, aunt, daughter and granddaughter. She will live on in our memory, as a guide and inspiration
2015 05 30 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand on the football community’s support following the tragic death of his wife] The day it was announced the Rebecca had died, we were overwhelmed by message of support. The kids saw it all and were telling me, ‘Look Dad, have you seen what they are doing for Mum?’ It was refreshing to see such compassion in the game, with tribalism removed. At the funeral there were players from my England and West Ham days, the QPR squad with Chris Ramsey and his staff as well as Harry Redknapp. Nemanja Vidic even flew in from Italy and back again as he had to be at training with Inter Milan the same day
2015 11 10 Retrieve
[on David Beckham] David Beckham is up there with the best passers I’ve ever played with; over a long distance he was ‘radar foot’. Some left footers look beautiful when they pass the ball. His right foot was like that – it even sounded nice when he hit the ball
2015 11 28 Retrieve
[on Roy Keane] I remember my first training session: I got the ball from the keeper, I passed it to Gary Neville at right back and Keane just exploded, saying: ‘You passed it sideways, that’s the easy pass! You’re not at Leeds or West Ham now!’ At the time I thought: ‘What’s he talking about?’ Then when I got home, I sat and thought about it and thought: ‘Yeah, you’ve got to try and affect the game’
2015 12 29 Retrieve
[on Sir Alex Ferguson] We played Benfica away and I think we got beat. We didn’t play well and he was shouting at me and I thought I was one of the best players on the day. So I going back at him. And the problem is, which I failed to learn quickly, is that the more you shout at him, the louder he gets, and the more aggressive he gets, and the closer he gets to you
2015 12 30 Retrieve
[on Sir Alex Ferguson] The boss defends his players to the hilt and that’s why he gets great respect from the players. They know they can trust him 100%. It is something on which the whole foundations of this club are built
2016 02 18 Retrieve
[on Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic’s Partnership] I’m always asked about our partnership, did you do specific training etc. Not really no, it was something that just worked very naturally. He was very aggressive, loved attacking the 1st ball in or out of the box, getting right into the opposing strikers, and I liked the sweeping up and covering type stuff. But our partnership brought out the best in our games and made us strive harder to be the best. My favourite partner to play alongside – YES
2016 02 19 Retrieve
[on Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic’s Partnership] With Vidic, I know exactly where he’s going to be, without speaking
2016 02 20 Retrieve
[on Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic’s Partnership] We didn’t work on it in training, we could smell each other’s movement, you just knew, it was instinct. I knew when he was going to go tight and I’d go round and cover. I knew when he was going to drop off, I’d push in. I knew when he was in a bit of trouble, I’d always hang back and be that safety net for him. He was the best partner and favourite partner I played with
2016 02 21 Retrieve
[Quote on Gary Neville] Young players nowadays should look back at the way that he played the game, not just in terms of his defending but the way he overlapped and attacked
2016 06 23 Retrieve
[on Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United] He became a defender that was feared, he could fight with the most physical, he crunched into tackles, he attacked the ball better than anyone I’ve ever seen. But as he will tell you with a smile, he could also play with the ball too, which made him complete & a great defender. Because he was so good in the aggressive/attacking the ball areas people probably looked over his ability with the ball to his annoyance!
2016 06 24 Retrieve
[on Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United] 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. He worked on his strength in the gym, worked out what was needed for him to succeed in the Premier League and then started to establish himself in our team
2016 08 13 Retrieve
[Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand on Paul Pogba] Paul Pogba is a huge talent and someone with the personality to handle that price tag. He can do everything. He is still working out the best way to use all of his weapons but, once he does, he will be an absolute monster of a player
2017 04 21 Tweet
[Ugo Ehiogu: Former England defender dies after suffering cardiac arrest] Can’t believe the news that Ugo Ehiogu has passed away. Calm & warming vibe when in his company. My heart goes out to his family.
2017 09 19 Retrieve
[Ferdinand confirms move into boxing] When Betfair approached me about the Defender to Contender challenge, the chance to prove myself in a new sport was a real draw. Boxing is an amazing sport for the mind and the body. I have always had a passion for it and this challenge is the perfect opportunity to show people what’s possible. It’s a challenge I’m not taking lightly, clearly not everyone can become a professional boxer, but with the team of experts Betfair are putting together and the drive I have to succeed, anything is possible
2017 09 30 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand remembers former team-mate Park Jisung’s performance against AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League] I remember we played against Milan in Milan and Andrea Pirlo was at the centre of everything that they had done. And the manager played Jisung Park on him as a man-marking job, I’m sure Pirlo woke up the next morning, he looked at the bottom of his bed and expected to see Jisung Park there. He was that good. Whatever the manager set out for him to do, whether it was to defend against somebody, stop someone playing, or go in there and make a difference in the opposing team’s box, he’d carry that out
2017 10 02 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand reveales his aim in boxing stretches little further than having one fight] I want to see if I can get a licence and become a professional and have one fight. I am not looking to have a career here. I am looking to have a professional fight and I will see where I go then
This is not a joke. Hopefully, I will get a license, go on to become a professional and fight someone. Boxing can’t be a gimmick. If I take it lightly, I will get hurt
2017 11 27 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand reveals the much spoken about ‘golden generation’ of English football did not achieve success in proportion to their quality because of their intense club rivalries] It was down to, from my perspective, the obsession with winning. I didn’t want to see Frank Lampard have an edge on me. It was the same with Steven Gerrard and England, when we were battling them Liverpool for the Premier League. I didn’t want to sit around and have a beer with him, because I didn’t want to hear what Liverpool were doing. I think that’s what held us back
2017 12 28 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand comments on Virgil van Dijk] When you find someone like Virgil Van Dijk, who is very good with the ball but is also very good in defence, you start to jump and go crazy
2018 03 15 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand on Roberto Baggio] We used to call him Badge. He had the skills man! The ponytail, Madonna fancied him, the lot. He was brilliant, living the dream
- 2018 05 13
- Rio Ferdinand won a Bafta TV award for his documentary called ‘Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad’ and he made an emotional thank you to Kate Wright
2018 05 23 Retrieve
[On BT Sport, Jake Humphrey asked Rio Ferdinand if Nemanja Vidic ‘made him cry’] No, it was Sir Bobby Charlton. He came down and started speaking to me about the history of the club, and what it meant to be the captain to go up the steps and pick up the trophy. He said a few nice, kind words and then I saw my family on the other side and it just hit me - my lip started going and I started to well up a little bit. I remember Vida just stood there and said, ‘Rio, not here’… And I went, ‘Sorry Vida, yeah’ and we went up [to collect the trophy]
- 2018 10
- Rio Ferdinand got engaged to his girlfriend Kate Wright in October 2018 while on holiday in Dubai
- 2018 11 02
- The Sun exclusively revealed Rio and Kate are planning to try for a baby ‘immediately after their wedding’. And after being hit with thousands of congratulatory messages, Rio, 39, took to Instagram today to pay tribute to his fans and their unwavering support
2019 06 17 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand claims he has spoken to Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward about the sporting director position] I’ve always spoken to Ed since I left, anyway. I had that type of relationship with him. I’ve not seen him at a game, so all the chats I’ve had with him have been on the phone or I go and see him when I’m in London
I’m not the type to dilly-dally around. I’ve seen the stuff in the papers. ‘What’s that role about?’ I’ve asked that question – so yes, I have spoken to him. I’m very honest and Ed’s open and honest with me. Manchester United and the powers that be will decide as and when they are going to put someone into that role
If I am the person on that list and the person they are going to talk to, then that time will come. It’s nice to be on a list in such a responsible role at such a prestigious club. If the call comes I will say, ‘thank you very much for that’, but if that call doesn’t come, I’ll not lose sleep over it
2019 10 16 Retrieve
[England’s players were subjected to racist abuse during Monday night’s 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Bulgaria in Sofia] Will there even be a punishment? What type of punishment…. Will this show us how serious racism is taken by the powers that be?
2019 10 17 Retrieve
[David Moyes was too keen to impress his authority on the club and over-stretched himself] David Moyes’ hands were on everything. He was involved in the scouting, he was involved in the analysis of opposing teams, the physiotherapy, the doctors. He was involved in taking every training session. He was involved in every team meeting, every video that was being done. You can do that at a club like Everton, where the demands are not as big, but at Manchester United, you’ve got to delegate
2019 10 17b Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand advises Harry Kane to leave Tottenham] If you look at it as if you’re an individual, put yourself in like Harry Kane’s shoes, you’re saying ‘I’m off’. I’ve got to be honest with you, I’d be gone because I’ve not got time to hang around. I could get injured next season, I could lose form etc. I want to win now. I’ve given most of my career to this club and they haven’t [won anything]
Yeah, you go very close, you can keep going very close, they’ve been close a few times of winning the league and then obviously the Champions League. It’s not enough. I can understand Eriksen, you can understand Eriksen’s frustrations and wanting to leave and saying ‘I want to go somewhere and potentially win something’, not be a maybe
2019 11 02 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand offers Wan-Bissaka defending advice after Bournemouth error] What happens as a defender in that situation is you think ‘Don’t let him score, don’t let him score, don’t let him score!’ and anxiety just builds up in an instant inside you. Top defenders in that situation go: ‘Right. There’s clarity. He’s gonna go back to his own goal, I’m gonna wait for him to make a move, then I’ll make my move’. It isn’t all fast, hundred-mile-an-hour thinking, and that’s what sets the good defenders, the good players, from the top players – you’ve got to be calm.
Experience is a massive point. We could sit here and dissect Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s game – and there’s some great stuff about his game – he makes more recovery tackles than anyone in the league, and if he’s facing his own goal I’d back him in a foot race against anybody one vs one. But there are elements he’ll need to add to his game, like patience, timing and positioning at times, but that’s all to come and that’s why they bought him. Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] bought him knowing all this. This isn’t the time to sit here and criticise him - ‘Is he this? Is he that?’ - that’s just one instance in the game where he got it wrong. I could get a 34-year-old and he could make the same mistake sometimes
2019 11 05 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand slams Chelsea fans that left Champions League clash with Ajax early] You can’t walk out. The spirit within this stadium and this club, the way they have responded to Frank, then you can’t come out of this stadium even at 4-1 down
2019 11 07 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says Kylian Mbappe is the number one role model for his two sons, Tate and Lorenz, as they track the Paris Saint-Germain star’s career] Mbappe is number one for them because he has scored so many goals, big goals and he has played in World Cups. They see that as success and something that they want to be able to do. Yes, he is a superstar but he is a nice and humble guy. They love his vibe. I like him being a role model for them because he says all the right things. His endorsements even are with the right companies. More importantly, when he signs a new deal, he has his family all around him. As a superstar, he is one I like my kids to follow. They also like [Virgil] Van Dijk and my older one is a goalkeeper. His favourites are David de Gea, Ederson and Marc-Andre ter Stegen
[It was at Man United where he saw Cristiano Ronaldo innovate to get to the top of the sport and he has advised youngsters like Mbappe to emulate him and LeBron James by building a support staff around them] With the amount of money in the game, these guys need to take a page out of either LeBron James or Cristiano Ronaldo’s book. 17 seasons in the NBA at the top, that’s absolutely ridiculous. For Ronaldo, [he is] 34 now and he is still at the top and he has been in the top two players in the world for more than a decade. He was the first person I saw invest in a team. I went around his house and I saw about 10 people in his front room. I said, who are these people? What’s going on?
He said, that’s my chef, that’s my physio, that’s the doctor and that’s my personal trainer. He left Man United as the best player in the world. He was on the right track. They have both invested huge money in having the right team around them for their body and mind to perform at the highest level consistently. I think if you give young players advice, then I would say if you have the resources then invest in yourself like that
[Ferdinand proceeded to pick a best eleven of the next generation of footballers that are exciting him as he looks at possible role models for people to follow]
Jadon Sancho is the standout as we wait for Vinicius to blow but Sancho is a different level to the others. Him and Hudson-Odoi are way up there and will be England’s wingers for a while. Sancho is ahead of Hudson-Odoi who has been injured for a while and he has played more games but both will get to the top. De Jong is awesome. What he did at Ajax last season was a joke. He played like a veteran player. He has poise, tactical nouse, composure. All the attributes you need to be in a top team. He can take games by control or the scruff of the neck. He is the best young midfielder around.
Maddison is doing really well this season and I think he should get to make his England debut. If Mason Mount is deserving, then he is equally deserving. Trent Alexander-Arnold is like a winger at full back with his creativity. Ben Chilwell is great at left-back. I love him and I think someone will buy him. He is top. He can go forward or defend. His final third distribution and crossing is great. I like both Fikayo Tomori and Ben Godfrey. From a mental perspective, if I look at a strong player to follow, I think of Matthijs De Ligt. He looks like a strong leader. He was a captain at 18-19 at Ajax. He made a big move to Juventus to compete with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini who are mainstays and stalwarts of defenders. He could have gone anywhere in the world and he has gone somewhere where he has a good chance of winning the Champions League but he also has a hard task of getting into a back-two pairing that has been successful. Mentally, he is the one I look to and go he is amazing. AC Milan’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, they talk about him like Gianluigi Buffon. He has had years at the top
I have kids now and my two boys love football, I spoke to them and asked them where do you get your training stuff from apart from me? They don’t listen to me much anyway. They said YouTube. I said, where do you go, how do you know it is the right thing? They just said if it looks good we use it. That triggered me to think this is what my kids need. They can use this without me there. This spoke to me in that way. It is a tool and an app that’s beneficial to kids to inspire them to be elite footballers
2019 11 12 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand has questioned why Gareth Southgate decided to go public in his punishment of Raheem Sterling for a throat grab on England colleague Joe Gomez] Gareth has handled being England manager brilliantly - up to this point. He has conducted himself in an admirable, eloquent & engaging way. Helping to make a nation feel like they can have some sort of confidence & respect for the national team. However, I feel this incident could have been handled better.
Keep it behind closed doors & deal with it internally surely?! Come international week, it’s meet up time between Sterling & Gomez… Raheem Sterling was still upset with Gomez about the result on Sunday & their little pushing/words said during the Liverpool vs Man City game. So he has obviously gone into the England camp heated and gone for Gomez, [and] in doing so grabbed Gomez by the throat. Obviously as a manager I’m sure having a harmonious squad is the best scenario - handshakes and hugs on sight not confrontations. But let’s be honest now this kind of stuff isn’t uncommon in squads full of testosterone.
In the various squads I have been a part of I have seen players get punched in the face, ribs broken, nose busted, head kicked like a football…..a throat grab was the equivalent of the intricate handshake embraces that are all too familiar today! The main question is: Why this couldn’t be handled internally? I suppose the management have felt it would be better to nip it in the bud prior to the press, agents, family friends leaking the news. However, the worst case on this instance would have been someone asking in a press conference ‘what happened between Raheem & Gomez, we heard there was a fight’. Easy answer and we have a game to concentrate on. Incident done and dusted. No player looks any worse, we move on.
Now Raheem is left to defend himself from all of the haters that had had their keyboards turned off due to him becoming a very worthy ambassador for the English game, and rightly so. If this was a terrible incident then I would be all for public shaming & discipline. But for this ‘throat grab’ that we are told it’s for I can’t understand it. Gareth would no doubt have seen worse many times during his time as a player and manager. I just feel this could and should have been handled better to support the player and not hang him out to dry.
One of our world class players who has conducted himself wonderfully through racism and unwarranted criticism in an England shirt will now come under more scrutiny and be vilified in the media no doubt - when this could have been dealt with internally. Hindsight is a great thing though. It seems to me, Raheem felt embarrassed by all that went on at the weekend…. a sign of winning mentality….. however channelled wrongly. Help educate him!
2019 11 27 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says Jose Mourinho’s miserable and grumpy demeanour ultimately ended up costing him his position at Manchester United] He came across very grubby [towards the end]. When I first saw Mourinho he was at a rival club [Chelsea] but I loved watching him on TV, in his press conferences you would tune in and it was box office. You loved hearing him speak. Before and after games he was insightful, and there was a spark about him. Then all of a sudden it has changed to being very miserable, downbeat and grumpy. Players feed off a manager’s charisma and how they promote themselves in public. I just thought he was very negative in the way his body language was at the end
2019 12 10 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand has praised Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham and has charged Marcus Rashford with emulating his England team-mate’s ruthlessness] He’s going to score a tremendous amount of goals because what he does is he wants to be in between the sticks, he wants to be in the centre of the goals to score goals. He’s somebody who’s hungry and got a desire to score. It’s a very good finish, it’s clean and clinical. He makes it look easy, it’s not an easy finish. What I love about Tammy is his first instinct, his first thought is ‘get me in there, get me in there to hurt the opposition, get me in there to score goals
It’s the positioning, some people will tell [Marcus] Rashford to get in that position and he’ll score five, six, seven, eight goals a season more. This kid here, that’s all he wants to do, that’s an element of his game that doesn’t need working on. He’s scored goals at every level and he’s brought it into the first team
2020 01 01 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says I’ve not seen Ozil smile like that for about 18 months] It’s freshened the place up, it went maybe stale under the previous manager, they maybe lacked belief in the manager’s tactics and his methods. We’ve both been there under different managers where you think, ‘I don’t believe in what this guy’s doing’ and that takes an edge off a performance subconsciously. The pictures we saw there when the whistle went with Arteta going on to the pitch - I’ve not seen Ozil smile like that for about 18 months. That tells you a story, he’s enjoying going to training, he’s enjoying playing. This kid here [Nicolas Pepe], today he looked like a new player. That comes from confidence with the new manager
In the performance today we saw a discipline we’ve not seen on a consistent basis from an Arsenal team, there’s a structure, there’s a confidence now starting to brew in this team that comes with goals and games and wins like we saw today. But they were quicker, they were stronger, they were more aggressive, they’re traits we haven’t been able to say about Arsenal for a consistent basis
2020 01 01b Retrieve
[Ferdinand urges Pogba to speak out on ‘mysterious’ Man Utd situation] If I was someone sitting there advising Paul, I would say ‘Go and speak out, you’re your own man’. Your voice is going to be heard the loudest, don’t let your agent speak. Shut your agent down. You speak and add some clarity to this situation so the fans know where you are at, your teammates know where you’re at and the club, your manager and people that are important know where you are
[Ferdinand believes that Solskjaer and Pogba are telling the truth, but wants both to provide more clarity to those in and around the club] I just think Ole is reacting to what is happening around the player. Injuries have played their part, and it’s frustrating because he’s a talented player. And he’s a superstar and came for big money. I think he’s injured yeah. He went to a charity game two days ago, so they obviously knew two days ago minimum that he had an injury and he wouldn’t be able to play in this game and now Ole has just confirmed that he will miss four, five or six games probably
2020 01 03 Retrieve
[Manchester United icon Rio Ferdinand has named his top transfer targets for Manchester United’s January window] Just thinking. I would 100 per cent go and get Edinson Cavani. Huge experience, goalscorer, work ethic and great professional who the younger players in the squad would learn a lot from
2020 01 03b Retrieve
[Sir Alex Ferguson’s iconic reign delivered 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League triumphs. The last of those came in 2008, with Ferdinand suggesting that Liverpool’s class of 2019-20 are not yet at that level] Need to win back to back league titles before being compared but there’s no denying they’re en route to being great team!
2020 01 05 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says Manchester United need someone capable of producing a bit of magic in midfield] They need a player who is going to come in and unlock things when it’s tight like this. When teams are putting a good system in front of them, two blocks there just waiting to be broken down, that’s when you need the quality. That’s when you need someone in the middle of the park who can put a ball over a full-back’s head from 30, 40 yards [away] and get the winger one versus one or put him in on goal from that area. At the moment in that team, I don’t see someone who’s capable or actually willing to do that and take that chance. And that’s why the Paul Pogba situation is so frustrating for me as a Man United fan and a Man United man. You want your best players out there, Paul Pogba on fire and on song is that type of player to make that difference
[When asked if he can see where the club are heading under the Norwegian’s stewardship] Not super clearly yet. I still think it’s a work in progress, the problem has been the inconsistency. Recently they’ve beaten Spurs and [Manchester] City and you think they are on the right path, we can see it, they are moving forward. Then they go and put in a performance like they did against Arsenal and it was disheartening seeing that game. But I think with the young players and the players he’s got out, the inconsistency is not understandable but you can understand where it’s coming from
2020 01 22 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand admits he was embarrassed after watching Manchester United fall to a 2-0 defeat to Burnley at Old Trafford on Wednesday] You said £600 million has been spent on the squad out there…on what? I don’t see it. I don’t see that money. What has been brought? There’s nothing there that suggests to me that this is laying down the foundations for the future.
I’m sitting up here and if I’m honest, I’m embarrassed. It’s embarrassing to be here. Not just about the team’s performance but I don’t see what’s coming next, I don’t see a pathway, I don’t see a target being set on the wall and saying we’re going to get to there. I just don’t see it.
Put today’s result to one side. I’m talking about recruitment and the actual building of the squad, the foundations that are being put in place for this squad now to go on and challenge at some point, not immediately, be realistic in a couple years maybe, build that squad, but money has been spent willy nilly the last seven years - what’s to show for it here? I don’t see what’s there. You can’t defend this
There’s young kids in schools around the country, they’re not going to be wearing Man Utd shirts, they’re not going to want to come here and support Man Utd based on what you’re seeing out there. It’s just not going to happen. Fans are walking out after 84 minutes, it’s an embarrassment. People at the top need to look and see this and actually make changes, put a plan in place where people can actually see where we’re going now, I don’t see it
[Ferdinand also stressed that the Red Devils are lacking from any long-term vision] I am a football fan. I love this club and want it to do well. Since that point [beating PSG last year] it has been a rocky road. It is not just one area. It all needs to be brought together and it needs someone to come in with a vision to do that. You look at some of the players that have come in - were these players ever Manchester United players, really? Who is buying these players? The manager who wanted them for now or the club? £600 million has been spent on this squad and the best players this season have been home grown talent. That speaks volumes about the recruitment. It tells you how shoddy it has been. Look at Liverpool, they buy the best players to fit in their system. It is not a short term fix. Total opposite end of the scale here
2020 01 30 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand claims Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani have both endorsed Bruno Fernandes’ move to Manchester United] I’ve spoken to a few of his teammates at national level and club level. Nani, my old teammate, says he’s a fantastic player, says he’s perfect for England. Says he’s got all the tools, all the right attributes. Cristiano said he’s fantastic, creates chances for him. He can manipulate the ball, take the ball, confident. These are the type of things that you want to hear when Manchester United are signing a player. So fans, based on what I’ve heard about him and what I’ve seen, I’m hopeful and confident that this guy can go out there and do the job
He’s a player who knows how to create chances. Man United have not found it difficult when they’ve had to counter-attack teams, when teams have come on to them and they’ve had a little bit less possession they’ve been able to counter-attack with the speed and pace they’ve got up front. But where they’ve found it hard and difficult is when they’ve played against teams who sit there and wait, especially at Old Trafford. But this is where someone like Bruno Fernandes can come in and play a pivotal role for Manchester United.
He’s a certain person who can look for that bit of imagination, that creativity, that patience around the box, that ability to hit the ball from the edge of the box and score a screamer. This is what Manchester United have been missing, especially with Paul Pogba out. And mentioning Paul Pogba, what does that mean for someone like Bruno Fernandes coming in? Well, I think he can only enhance someone like him. Someone who has got something to play for by the way. This summer is the Euros, he’s going to want to be part of this French team who are probably the favourites to win. He will have that appetite there to perform for Man United. Even if he’s using that to get into the French team, Man United have to actually take that and take that on board. Man United’s midfield – McTominay, Pogba, Bruno Fernandes – it’s got a nice ring to it.
2020 02 04 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says Man Utd must avoid Owen-like burnout with Greenwood] The kid [Greenwood] is a fantastic goal-scorer. All through the youth levels as a kid, he’s always found it easy scoring goals. He plays off both feet – he’s a fantastic talent, but he needs to be nurtured correctly. You can’t expect him to come in and play every game just because there’s an injury to Marcus and then put it all on his shoulders
good yardstick is to look at someone like Michael Owen. He came through as a ‘boy wonder’, huge expectations [on him] and he played far too many games from a young age. I think that was a big factor in him having big injuries later on in his career, slowing him down. That’s something to look at, to make sure we don’t have the same mistake with Mason - nurture him the right way
[Ferdinand is also concerned about Greenwood potentially being under too much pressure at United] It [coping with the pressure] is difficult if he’s got no one around him with the experience to guide him. You just hope he’s got players or staff in there that can help him and guide him through that period and allow him to understand the pressure isn’t [on] him. He’s too young. There’s other players in there that can take on that pressure on their shoulders and are experienced enough to do that. It’s up to other people to do that
2020 02 05 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says Manchester United could still end up finishing in the Premier League’s top four come May] [United] haven’t been as consistent as we would like, but that happens with change and when there’s a lot of youth that has been brought into a squad. As a fan you want your team to win, play well, get results, to see big players step up and score goals, and we’ve seen that sporadically for Manchester United this season. The target at the moment if to be in the Champions League and United are fortunate there isn’t a team that has really gone on a rich vein of form to cement their place in the top four. So it’s up for grabs
Based on the success of previous years it paints a bad picture. Fans remember that success, they remember the players around that time and you get addicted to winning. Everyone wants to see their team produce the goods and when you look at the level of investment that’s gone into this squad, the fans are sitting there saying: ‘We expect to see more out on the pitch’. We’re all sitting here talking and asking the questions as to how it can be improved, so hopefully, the powers that be at the club hit the right notes
2020 02 25 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand adds that Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich team deserves praise for their performance] An absolute education, it was a clinic put on by this Bayern team. They never really got out of second gear, they didn’t need to, they upped it every now and then. Gnabry didn’t even feature really in the first half, comes out second half explosive, scores two exquisite goals. They just showed they had that quality, especially in the top end of the pitch. The two midfielders [Joshua] Kimmich and Thiago Alcantara controlled the game, controlled the tempo of the game, and when the ball got into the final third at the right times these boys were clinical, as they’ve been throughout the season in Germany
2020 03 02 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says Bruno Fernandes making those around him better at Man Utd] He’s come in and he’s been a breath of fresh air. There’s no heirs and graces and he looks like he’s come in and is someone who wants to play football and enjoys his football. He’s somebody who is going to have an impact and have an influence on other people it seems. He’s come in and I’m seeing improvements in other people’s performances.
[Juan] Mata for one, him and Mata have linked up very well. He plays the ball in to people, his awareness of space and people around him is phenomenal. It’s still early days, we can’t say he’s the saviour, but where we are now he’s scored two back to back penalties, but more importantly it’s been his performances, how he’s carefree, his imagination. The pass to Mata for the [Odion] Ighalo goal [against Brugge] where he’s faked a couple of times and then dinked it to the back post, you can tell he’s a bit different, he’s not the same as everyone else. I’m delighted to see that
2020 03 06 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand asks Does Pogba want to stay or go?] I think that is a conversation that needs to be happening between Man United and Pogba. Does he want to stay or go? Does Ole want to keep him? Once that’s ironed out you can build your team
They understood as a group that it wasn’t going to happen overnight. I think this team are turning the corner but it’s a slow process. It’s not something we can look at and go right, ‘that’s a big change and Man United are back winning trophies’. This is a slow burn, though, after a few years of topsy-turvy times
People, and myself included, were probably thinking Odion Ighalo, where does he fit into all of this? If you have an opportunity to sign a player at the beginning of the January window, he is not the guy you are going to sign but what he does bring is a point. A point where they can focus and play into him from the midfield. He offers the platform to run off. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial want the ball in behind and not to bring people in
2020 03 07 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says Odion Ighalo is the perfect throwback for Manchester United] You’ve got to give, I think, Ole and his recruitment staff credit. He’s started ever so well. He’s hit the ground running. One of the main question marks about him was he’s played in China, the level’s not the same. Is he going to be fit enough? So there were so many questions marks over it, but Ole saw something and said I want to go for him. I think the fact that he’s a Man United fan is big and his heart and soul will be put into this move.
It’s not a monetary signing at all. It’s about wanting to play for the shirt and the badge and he wants to get back to that because I think because there have been far too many people that have come in and played probably for the money and the exposure over what it means to play for Manchester United so he’s a bit of a throwback, he’s here for the right reasons and you’ve seen that in his performances.
He gives Manchester United something different. He’s more of a – he’s not as mobile and dynamic as the young forwards that they’ve got there in [Marcus] Rashford and [Anthony] Martial and Dan James but he gives them something different, that presence.
Somebody that the players, and midfield especially, can play into from different areas and then people can join him and he’ll bring them into the game
2020 03 21 Retrieve
[Man Utd legend Rio Ferdinand ranks Grealish above Maddison amid ongoing transfer speculation] Grealish or Maddison? That’s a good question. They’re both flying, both done unbelievably well over the last year. They’re very different players. Maddison is someone who can get the ball, he can pop it about. He gets goals, gets assists, sets up chances, he’s sharp, he gets in good positions to create things. Very good footballer. I like him. Grealish does all of that but he has one thing over all these players we talk about in this position for England like Dele Alli, Maddison, Mason Mount in that position, that attacking [style] that can play off the striker, that can play as an attacking midfielder. Grealish can take people on. Grealish gets the ball, he can manipulate the ball, draw players to him … draw one/two players to him leaving space for someone else. That’s what I like about Grealish. He’s got that bit of arrogance as well. Knows he’s a good player that’s producing. He just edges it for me
2020 03 21b Retrieve
[Ferdinand has Liverpool star above Wan-Bissaka in England battle] Trent Alexander, I saw him against Atletico Madrid at Anfield. If any kid right-back wants to watch a player in today’s modern game play right-back, get that 45-minute clip. The way he controlled the game from right-back, the last person I’ve seen do something like that is maybe Cafu. He played every pass in the book; outside of the boot, cross-field fade, sprayed it far and wide across the pitch, whipped it behind the defence. He done everything. Trent is an absolute mad footballer, I don’t care what anyone says, he plays for Liverpool and I don’t care, the kid can play.
As good a passer about, he’s up there, you talk about the [Kevin] De Bruynes of this world, I’m not going too far or overcooking it to say that Trent Alexander is in around them boys when talking about top passers, and he’s at right-back by the way. Unheard of. You weren’t seeing Gary Neville pass the ball like that, as good as Neville was he couldn’t pass the ball like Trent Alexander
[He added after being quizzed on whether he would take Alexander-Arnold or Wan-Bissaka] I don’t know. Right now it has to be Trent, because he’s experienced, he’s played in two Champions League finals, won one, was in a team that should’ve won the league and has been consistent.
2020 03 22 Retrieve
[Ferdinand admits he would pick prime Vidic over Van Dijk] Prime Van Dijk or prime Vidic? [It’s a] good question. I’ve got to go with Vidic because he was my partner, man. He was my partner. He covered my back and I covered his. That was it
I love Van Dijk, don’t get me wrong. I love him. [I think he’s the] best defender in the world now, definitely. I’d love to have seen him play in our time, seen what he was about. That would have been interesting. [He’s a] top player.
2020 03 23 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says Coutinho was right for Man Utd until Fernandes arrived] At Liverpool he was an amazing player, but since he left Liverpool he hasn’t really done it yet. He struggled at Barcelona, struggled to fit in there and then he hasn’t done amazingly well at Bayern. I think he is a great player, a huge talent, I think he needs saving. Coming into the Premier League to the right team would be a saviour for him, he needs that. I would have said Man Utd before Bruno Fernandes turned up, but not now.
Would he improve Spurs? Yes he would, 100 per cent. People like [Harry] Kane, Dele [Alli], [Heung-min] Son etc all feed off someone like him. I think he would be a great addition to Spurs’ squad. Arsenal he would definitely improve them, but where does he play in their system? They’ve got [Mesut] Ozil. I like Ozil if he is played well. Barely any team can afford him where he would fit in. He wouldn’t fit into City, Liverpool, not any teams like that. Would he be a good addition, yes? Not Man Utd though, and he played for Liverpool so it is a difficult one. The rivalry is mad
2020 03 24 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand claims Arjen Robben ‘didn’t like the smell’ at Manchester United training ground so joined Chelsea instead] I’d have to go for Giggys you know. Robben was nasty though, oooh Robben. You knew he was going to come back in on his left but the left-back couldn’t deal with it. He’d be saying, ‘I’m going to come in on my left, you’re not gonna stop me’. And they didn’t. What a player. Robben was great. We should have signed him at Man United
I think he came to the training ground. He walked around and didn’t like the smell and walked off and went Chelsea. I couldn’t believe it man. He would have been great for us.
But Giggsy was an unbelievable footballer. Left wing, into centre midfielder by the end of his career. Great footballer. Great, great footballer
2020 03 24b Retrieve
[The former centre-back is in awe of how confident Mason Greenwood is with either foot and how easily he’s adjusted to life in the first team] Have you seen what this kid is doing?! Left and right foot. If you said to him take a free-kick please. In his own mind he is saying to himself ‘do they want it on my right or my left foot?’ That is the kind of conversations he is having in his head.
Left foot, right foot, bang. The ball is hitting the back of the net, that is how he moves. I have seen this kid since he was very young and I have heard people talking about him at the club. Every level he has gone into, that is the key, every level he has played he has looked unfazed and stepped up to it easily. Like with pure, pure ease. He has just done it. He just looks around ‘Old Trafford? This is me, I’m meant to be here.’ That is the vibe I get from him. You can’t put a price on that, that cold-hearted calm confidence is just mad
2020 03 24c Retrieve
[Kane has most strongly been linked with a move to Old Trafford] Would I take Harry Kane now? Of course you would. If he’s fit and he’s raring to go, you take Harry Kane at Man Utd, 100 per cent. Top player, you’re guaranteeing goals, in the Premier League you’re guaranteeing goals. This geezer scores goals but I don’t see Tottenham letting Harry Kane go. And with Mourinho there, I don’t see Mourinho letting him go to Man Utd
[on Jadon Sancho] I would take Sancho all day, to Man Utd. Whether we’ll get him, though […] Great player, great potential, English, he’s brilliant. I would take Sancho now
[Bale to Spurs] Bale to Spurs? That would be great for Spurs if they could get him, but I don’t think they could afford him, that’s the problem. Haaland isn’t going to Spurs. He’s at Dortmund, why would he go to Spurs?
2020 03 24d Retrieve
[Fellow former England international Rio Ferdinand also believes that north London would be a better option for Philippe Coutinho than Manchester United or Liverpool] Would he improve Spurs? Yes he would, 100 per cent. People like [Harry] Kane, Dele [Alli], [Heung-min] Son etc all feed off someone like him. I think he would be a great addition to Spurs’ squad
2020 03 25 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says Ighalo deserves permanent contract at Man Utd after proving everybody wrong] Wow, eight games, three starts in that, four goals and one assist. Ighalo, do you sign him for Manchester United now? All the people that out there that were saying: ‘What are we doing signing Ighalo? What’s going on? What’s Ole thinking?’ – I was one of them, I have to admit it.
Ighalo’s been in China, the league’s nowhere near what the Premier League is so how is he going get up to speed? Is he going to be ready straight away? We need somebody to come and make an impact immediately. Coming from China, impossible
Well, he’s proved us all wrong. This guy has proved us all wrong. It’s refreshing to see someone who is like a supporter, who is thankful. He looks like he’s absolutely delighted to be at Manchester United. He’s been a Manchester United supporter his whole life. He looks like he’s saying ‘thank you’ every day he walks up to Ole for giving him this opportunity.
He’s not someone who says ‘Manchester United are lucky to have me here’ – that’s the vibe I’ve got for a little while and that’s not just United, that’s other clubs as well. This boy looks like he’s happy to be here: ‘Whatever you tell me to do I’m going to go out there and do it to the best of my ability. I’m going to give you 100 per cent every day in training and in matches because I love this club and I want to do right by this club’. I love it.
It’s shocked me to see what he’s done. Listen, we’re not talking like he’s turned Man United into world-beaters but United needed something and he’s brought it in and given it and that’s all you can ask for. And I think he’s warranted the opportunity to come in as a full-time player and what he’s given Manchester United which they didn’t have is someone they can pass the ball into and can hold it up, he’s got a physical presence, he can hold off a defender or two and lay the ball in for someone else to score.
[Ferdinand went on to draw comparisons between Ighalo and Henrik Larsson] [Marcus] Rashford, when he’s fit, will appreciate playing with someone like this. He can have the impact on the Rashfords, on the Martials, on Daniel James etc. That someone like Larsson, who can have [an influence] on the likes of [Wayne] Rooney and [Louis] Saha when he was there. That little bit of experience. He’s got something that’s different to all the other guys in the team and you need that sometimes
2020 03 25b Retrieve
[Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand backs Man Utd’s £30m Bellingham gamble] Jude Bellingham, huge talent, huge talent, really good-looking footballer in the way he plays, the balance he’s got, the maturity at such a young age. I want to see more but the price tag is phenomenal. £30m-odd for a kid, for a 16-year-old boy, it’s unbelievable. But it’s the way of the world now and the way you’ve got to think about it, if you’re paying £30m, if we keep him for 10 years it’s money well spent. It’s a gamble, it’s an expensive gamble, but for the kid to be playing in the Championship and doing what he’s doing and looking the player he is, it’s a gamble but a calculated one. I think he’s someone I would 100 per cent take. If I’m Man Utd now, go in and get him
2020 03 29 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand has called for the 2019-20 campaign to be voided if the coronavirus pandemic rages on] Times like this do push it home how important sport, contact and communication is when you are isolated and alone with your immediate family. But we have to take into consideration football is just a game. As seriously as we all take it, the bigger picture is what is going on out in society. I’m sure in my own mind that if it’s not going to be an immediate fix in the next few weeks then the season needs to be voided and started again next season afresh. A lot of people like Liverpool fans will always say, ‘Oh that’s because you don’t want Liverpool to win the league’. Listen, if my team was in that situation I would think about people’s health and the wider society rather than my own gain. And this is a situation where I think exactly the same no matter who’s going to go up, who’s potentially going to go down, who could have won the league and who could have finished in the Champions League positions
I think across the board, it’s much more clearer, black and white, and just void the season and start again afresh. And there are going to be people disappointed, and there are going to be people that are probably more satisfied with that. But whichever way you go you’re going to be disappointing people and there’s going to be people that are more happy with the situation when you do it. So not everyone can win in this situation and that’s just a fact
2020 03 29b Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says Roy Keane killed Juan Sebastian Veron’s Manchester United career] Veron, Sebastian Veron, scored one of the best goals I’ve ever seen in training. The little rabona thing, bang from the halfway line, the whole training session shut down, stopped: ‘Did you just see that, what Juan Sebastian’s just done there?’. He was an unbelievable player, great passer. The only thing I think that killed him was Roy Keane was probably a bit more of a dominant personality and was picking the ball up in his positions. You have to remember Veron came from Lazio, Parma where he was the main man, the whole game went through him. He came to United, that’s what Roy Keane did. Keane came and got it off the defenders, passed it through to the midfielders and attackers, and got in positions and was very vocal, like ‘Yeah, give me the ball! Give me the ball!’ And out of respect probably Seba just said, ‘I’ll let Roy keep doing that’. But Seba was an amazing talent. I honestly think without Roy Keane there he might have flourished in a Man United shirt. I think Roy Keane was his problem. And it wasn’t Roy Keane’s fault, it’s just that his personality was bigger and more overpowering
2020 03 30 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand has a strong message for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal amid Luka Jovic transfer links] He is someone who could add something to Arsenal but I don’t think Arsenal need a player in that position.
Arsenal need centre-halves. They need centre-halves who can defend and play as well. I played against Arsenal teams with the likes of Sol Campbell and Tony Adams. I don’t see that now. They have many good footballers but you need a blend.
Why are they going for Jovic when they need to be looking at centre-halves? Arsenal is a fantastic club, what a club. But they need to get it right in other areas of the pitch
2020 03 31 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says Saul Niguez is a major player] He’s another one, what a player. I’ve been harping on about Saul Niguez for a few years now. I think he’s a major player. Composed, calm, great left foot, lovely conductor, he can score goals, tactically he’s very aware. You can see Simeone, he gets his teams really well set up and he’s in the middle orchestrating and dictating things. Saul Niguez is huge and it’s come out in the papers this week that Man Utd are interested in him, but we’ll have to wait and see. Man Utd are linked to everyone.
2020 03 31b Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says Man Utd need to sign Kane and Sancho] Harry has always been coy and held back but he’s dropped a couple of bombs. He’s been waiting for the dream at Spurs to materialise but it hasn’t happened. He’s frustrated. Do you think Harry would be happy, fulfilled and satisfied if he scores goals, breaks records but with no trophies at the end of his career? No. He will be upset and devastated. I think that statement means Harry is off, he wants to win trophies and that will alert clubs. I know Man Utd will be in for him because that type of player is perfect for them. I’m sure Juventus will be in and will Real Madrid come in? He will go for massive dough, at least £130m in today’s market
[Ferdinand is adamant that United and Sancho are a perfect match together] I want Jadon to go to a team where he will play, improve and get trophies. He’s been linked with United, Chelsea, PSG but I think United is the place for him to go because I’m biased. (Marcus) Rashford, (Anthony) Martial, Kane, Sancho, that would intimidate a lot of centre-halves before a whistle is blown. Definitely. Of course, he has to. If he wears the seven (shirt) he has to be there for the next 10 years. That’s what that shirt deserves and demands. He’s flying and one of the best young kids in the world at the moment. He’s a player with huge potential and will go for over £100m. You are buying someone for 10 years at your club, it’s massive money but I’d take him and risk it. You say to him, ‘You’re going to be the player we build a team around and person who can get us trophies.’ He’s got the X-factor, skills, beats and excites people. If you go to Real, Barca, United, those stadiums want to be excited and get them off their seat. Sancho is that guy. He has all the potential to be an absolute humongous superstar. He brings the playground to the stadium
2020 04 09 Retrieve
[Manchester United icon Rio Ferdinand: I came close to leaving Man Utd for Barcelona] It came close. There were discussions with my agent, Barca had touched base. I’d spoken to Riijkard, not about going there but he made his feelings known. It was actually after the game in Barcelona where we drew 0-0, in the tunnel after the game I spoke to him. The problem with me going abroad, I always said I definitely wanted to go abroad and play, but the only thing that would ever have stopped me was if I was successful on home shores and I was lucky and fortunate to find a great club in Manchester United where it was going to be almost impossible for me to leave. We beat them and went on to become European champions, so why would I leave the European champions to go to another team in transition. At that point Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, they weren’t the players they were three or four years later so it was a very different landscape at that time in Barcelona
2020 04 12 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand has admitted he felt embarrassed after Manchester United lost the 2011 Champions League final to Barcelona] Messi was a killer. Ronaldinho was unreal, the free-flowing magician. But with Messi, he’d do all of that but there was always a goal or an assist at the end of it
Barca gave us an absolute lesson at Wembley. I was standing there watching them lift the trophy and me, Giggsy and Scholesy were standing together with our hands over our mouths and I said: ‘I feel embarrassed lads’. He [Messi] took liberties
They’re the best in Europe, no question about that. In my time as a manager, I would say they’re the best team we’ve faced. Everyone acknowledges that and I accept that. It’s not easy when you’ve been well beaten like that to think another way. No one has given us a hiding like that. But how long it lasts, whether they can replace that team at some point… they certainly have the right philosophy, but it’s always difficult to find players like Xavi, Iniesta and Messi all the time
2020 04 27 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand is doing his best to get the season voided] I just think the Premier League should just be voided. Just void it. I know there are going to be a lot of Liverpool fans going ‘Oh Rio, it’s just because you support Manchester United and it’s Liverpool’. It’s not that, it’s just that I don’t see a way that it can be done, where health isn’t compromised. Simple as that. All this behind closed doors business – you’re still going to have players there, are the players not part of society?
There are players who are going to go down with the illness who might not have recovered, or catch it from someone then it spreads to other players. It won’t be fair, it’s not a level playing field. I just don’t feel it’s right
There are going to be people in the stadium, security, it puts everyone at risk. All this ‘oh we’re going to win this’ or ‘so-and-so might go down’ […] you’ve got to put those type of things to one side
This is about life and death situations, about society in the wider grand scheme of things. Football it ain’t that serious in that sense
Listen, we all love it but it ain’t life or death, when it comes to matters like this, you’ve got to put people’s heath before anything
Start the season, clean slate, once all this health situation has been sorted out we can start the new season but I don’t see it happening in that time
Now if we wake up one morning in the next month and it’s all gone and the country can get back to normal immediately then we can have a conversation about that but I don’t see that happening, not from what we’re being told, and the experiences that other countries who are two or three weeks in front of us, we’re not going to be in a place to do that
PSG vs Dortmund the other day, behind closed doors but outside there were thousands of fans out there. Imagine Liverpool win the league, which they would, do you think those fans after 30 years of hurt will sit at home and say, ‘Well done, guys’?
2020 04 28 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand has advised Manchester United to move for Saul Niguez, Thomas Partey and Wilfred Ndidi in the summer transfer window] I’d maybe go get Partey from Atletico Madrid or Ndidi from Leicester. I like Saul Niguez. He’s a very, very good player in midfield. And then a centre-back, they still need a centre-back. Whether you go for a young one like a Ben Godfrey or someone like [Kalidou] Koulibaly. I don’t know, it’s difficult
2020 04 28b Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand has jumped to the defence of Manchester United superstar Paul Pogba in his public feud with Graeme Souness] He hasn’t even played football this year! I don’t know how his name is in people’s mouths, he hasn’t even played football. I don’t understand it, like why are you chatting about Paul Pogba? He hasn’t played really this season so he shouldn’t be in the conversation. I don’t understand. Yeah, he’s a great player, huge profile, I understand all that. But he’s being judged or made the villain in this season which he’s played really no part in, so I don’t get it. Obviously Graeme Souness made a statement about putting your medals on the table. Boy, listen, my man’s got a World Cup winners’ medal. Like, it’s hard to chat to someone when they’ve got a World Cup. He won four Scudetti in Italy or something. He’s won stuff. Listen, Graeme Souness was a great player and he’s won a lot of stuff.
Listen, my generation, and even worse for Graeme Souness and all the guys in that generation, they’ve got to understand that these guys don’t look at them sometimes. They don’t know who they are. For Paul Pogba to say he doesn’t know who he is, or wouldn’t know him as a footballer, I believe that. It’s not disrespectful, he doesn’t know him! As great a player as Souness was – he was a top player, one of the best, if you’re talking about the best British midfielders we’ve ever produced, he’s in the conversation – but Paul Pogba doesn’t know him. Simple as that. And that’s just a difference of generations. So I don’t think it’s disrespectful. Listen, if I was Paul Pogba I would have said the same thing, but I would have been saying it from a disrespectful standpoint, because I’d be saying, ‘You’ve been disrespecting me this whole time and I’ve not kicked a ball! Why are you talking about me for?’
Listen, I’m honest about Paul, and I love Paul because I’ve known him since he was a young kid and I still chat to him now, but the only problem I have with Paul is he should chat instead of his agent chatting. If he’d done that there’d be more clarity on the whole situation. But Paul is his own man, he’s going to deal with it his own way and I respect that. So that’s the only thing I’d say. Would Paul have wanted to do more in a Man United shirt in terms of performances? I’m sure he would. Listen this kid is an absolute professional, desperate to be the best player in the world, he wants to be that. Don’t ever get that twisted. But these guys are talking about him like he’s some kind of fairground player
2020 04 29 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand is baffled how Paul Pogba is still being blamed for Manchester United’s issues] A lot of it is from social media – a lot of what they say stems from his social media presence and a lot of those guys are old school. [Ex-pros] want people to follow suit of those before them, they want people to be serious about the game, not broadcasting stuff on social media. He’s injured, going to a wedding and dancing, in the changing room and dancing – this is Pogba, that’s his life, the way he is. You can’t beat him with a stick because that’s his personality, he’s different. This generation of player is different to my generation and even more different to the likes of Keane and Souness. The landscape has changed so much that we can’t expect them to behave the way we did. Pogba doesn’t drink, he’s not a nightclub merchant, but he goes on social media. What’s worse? Because the people we were talking about before, like myself, would be in a nightclub, or drinking at times, but he doesn’t do that. But he’s still being vilified for being present, happy. And that’s a big thing – he’s being happy while injured. I don’t agree with that [criticism] – mental health is a big issue, if you can’t be yourself in your downtime while injured […] What do people expect? You to sit around and be depressed? To keep on absolutely pounding him with blame and bringing his name into the conversation right now in such a negative way. He’s played seven [Premier League] games this season, and he’s the focal point as to why United aren’t doing so well. How does that happen, how is he to blame?
[Ferdinand feels Pogba might have expected more from himself since re-joining] I’ve said on multiple occasions, he’s a very honest guy and he will have expected more in himself. But when you actually look at his stats in the squad in the last four seasons played, he’s at the top in terms of passing, chances created, assists, ball retention – he’s the catalyst pushing the team on when fully fit. Has he been the Pogba we come to expect on a consistent basis when he’s a £90m transfer? I’d argue he probably hasn’t been as consistent as you’d like, but this has been a squad in absolute transition and has had multiple managers. If you spend £90m in a certain part of your business, you’d probably make that the jewel in your crown, but I don’t think that’s happened with Pogba
2020 04 30 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says Man Utd will have ‘mouthwatering’ attack if they sign Sancho and keep Pogba] If I was looking at the team now and you have McTominay with Bruno [Fernandes] on one side of the three and Pogba on the other. You can’t tell me other midfielders aren’t going to be thinking, ‘if these lot are on fire today we’re going to have to be on a game, it’s going to be a hard day work for us’. There’s ability there, it’s ridiculous. If they can find that cohesion, the team set-up for them to flourish, it’s mouthwatering what could happen
It’s if, buts and maybes. We need Paul Pogba fit, we need him in that team and to see what he’s like to see if the relationship can be built with the players and the players ole is acquiring now. It’s up to Paul Pogba. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the powers that be at the club whether Paul Pogba stays at the football club then we see
2020 05 16 Retrieve
[Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has given his backing to the club to move for Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho] I hope they do, man. He’s got that imagination, that carefree spirit – almost like that playground footballer vibe that I love. And he’s bringing it all to the big stage
He’s a dream. He reminds me of a young Neymar. The cool thing is, for the young kids watching him, they see that you can play in a creative way, even though football has become so structured. He brings his own style, that street football, to the game. That’s what makes him so priceless
2020 05 19 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says the story of David Moyes showing him videos of Phil Jagielka as an example of how he wanted him to defend was made up] I don’t know where that came from to be honest, that’s something that never happened. Listen, Phil Jagielka was a very good player. I’m sure he wouldn’t have shown us videos of Phil of how we should be doing this and that, but I don’t know where that came from. That’s just some mad tale that’s come out of nowhere. Someone has dreamed that up and it’s become a great meme
To be fair, we did have some heated discussions if I’m being honest. There were a few heated meetings between myself, Vida and David Moyes. We didn’t agree with certain things and the certain ways things were being done. Set-ups from a defensive perspective etc. He wanted certain things, we didn’t really agree with certain things he was saying, but that’s football and I think David Moyes will probably have had that before with many different players so we weren’t the first and I’m sure we won’t be the last
2020 05 19b Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says Man Utd should sign Sancho & give him No.7] I think Harry Kane’s been linked but if I’m pushing for an attacking player I’d still go for Sancho, he gives you that little bit of imagination and I think he gives you that little bit of spice that they haven’t got at the moment.
Yes, I would [give Sancho No 7], he’s that type of character. He’s got an arrogance about him, it’s what you want on a football pitch, they’d embrace that. So yes, I’d give it to him and put that pressure right on his shoulders
2020 05 28 Retrieve
[Nine years on from Barcelona’s breath-taking Champions League final victory over Manchester United] I was standing there watching them lift the trophy. Me, Giggsy and Scholesy were standing together with our hands over our mouths and I said: ‘I feel embarrassed lads’. [Lionel Messi] took liberties
Messi was a killer. Ronaldinho was unreal, the free-flowing magician. But with Messi, he’d do all of that but there was always a goal or an assist at the end of it.
2020 06 13 Retrieve
[Rio Ferdinand says Manchester United should make the Premier League top four] I reckon they should make the top four - with that squad they ought to. Paul Pogba is fit again, as is Marcus Rashford, there is talk Pogba is looking really good in training. He and Bruno Fernandes can form a productive midfield partnership in a three with someone like Scott McTominay. Don’t forget United were on a good streak when the season was halted - and had just beaten Manchester City not long after winning at Chelsea. They haven’t lost in about ten games and signs of Ole’s good management are coming to fruition now. I’ve never lost faith in Ole despite all the criticism he was getting. I believe in him and if he makes that top four he’ll have done a good job. He also still has the Europa League to aim for if we can get that going again
[Ferdinand went on to express his relief over the impending return of top-flight football] There was a point where I couldn’t see how we were ever going to get going again. The world had bigger things to worry about and the fate of the title, the European qualifying places and relegation didn’t seem very important. I thought the season would be null and void but the fact we are ready to go again is testament to the players, the clubs and the owners