As some of you may know, Rio is a huge fan of the UFC and he recently took part in a training camp with the UFC’s Brad Pickett who taught him what it really means to Feel The Fight!
Rio spent 12 years at United and won a ridiculous number of trophies, including six league titles and the European Cup.
When he was at Leeds as their captain, it was hard to imagine what he would go on to achieve at United. He’s openly admitted in the past that he hated United and used to claim he would never sign for us.
In this first of a four part interview, talking to my good friend Nooruddean Choudry, Rio discussed leaving Leeds for United, and that when given the opportunity, he didn’t give it a second thought.
He also talks about how after signing for United, he had planned on spending the rest of his career at the club.
NC: When you first started in football, did you think it would last?
RF: No, not at all. It’s funny because we had a little party for the kids yesterday. I was sitting there watching them surrounded by all their friends, and thought back to when I was younger. I never really made a huge effort to make lots of friends within football in the early years purely because I didn’t think I’d be doing it for very long.
You don’t expect it. Perhaps if I’d expected it to continue, it wouldn’t have happened. In a funny way I kept myself on my toes by not fully allowing myself to believe it would last. Obviously in my heart I wanted to stay in football, but I think the mentality I had was right for me. I didn’t let myself become complacent because in football you can never tell. I didn’t allow myself to take it all for granted.
NC: And when you joined Manchester United, were you hoping that you’d remain at the club for the rest of your career?
RF: 100%. The minute I walked through the door and sat next to the boss at the press conference, I knew that I wanted to stay here for the rest of my career. But as you know in football you can’t think more than a year ahead. All I was thinking was that I want to play well this year and hopefully win some trophies and then the manager will hopefully keep me on. Every year I felt the same thing – I want to play well enough for the manager to keep me here. You spend your career living in hope.
NC: So there’s always that uncertainty year after year?
RF: For me it was never a question of whether I wanted to stay at the club; I always did. It was more a case of whether the club wanted me. As long as that was still the case, I was always going to stay. The only way I was ever going to leave was if the club told me I was no longer needed; only then was I going to leave. That’s kind of the way it went in the end.
NC: Prior to signing for Manchester United you were the captain of Leeds United. Did that give you any reservations about coming to Old Trafford in terms of the fierce rivalry between the two clubs?
RF: Not at all. I’d been at Elland Road for eighteen months. Obviously I knew about the rivalry between United and Leeds but my main aim in football was always to win trophies. Up until that point I hadn’t won a thing, so when the opportunity came along to join United I didn’t think twice. I had the chance to come to the biggest club in the world and work under the best manager in football – how could I turn that down?
What happened when Rio Ferdinand put the gloves on and met UFC’s Brad Pickett? Check out Rio’s EA SPORTS UFC Training Camp at http://youtu.be/tAMvzSUqR4Q. EA SPORTS UFC is OUT NOW on Xbox One and PS4. #FeelTheFight
Made in Manchester is available for just £3. Some of the best football writers take a player each, from Sir Bobby Charlton to Ryan Giggs, George Best to David Beckham, Duncan Edwards to Paul Scholes, and many more, with 30 articles in total. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.