Speaking at his book launch for his autobiography, “My Decade As A Red”, Rio Ferdinand talked about United’s rivalry with Liverpool, and how he felt after scoring a last minute winner to beat them in 2005.
“John Barnes was my favourite player as a kid,” said Rio. “On my estate, most of the kids loved him and had posters of him in our bedrooms… for football reasons! When I was a kid I used to watch Liverpool because of him. But then of course I signed for Manchester United and you get involved in the whole rivalry and immerse yourself in the club’s history. Manchester United and Liverpool is a huge rivalry. It’s our biggest rivalry, in terms of the success they had in the 80s and then United became successful, so the rivalry is huge. So to score a winner like that, last minute in the Stretford End, you explode. If you could bottle that emotion, you’d be a very rich man. On that day, when you play Liverpool, particularly when you go to Anfield as a Manchester United player, their fans are screaming, they have veins hanging out of their necks. You just think ‘please let us win’, so you can walk off the pitch and look at these guys in their eyes and walk off the pitch proud with your chest out, and I’ve been lucky enough to do that a good few times.”
Whilst Rio recognises Liverpool as United’s biggest rivals, he argues that any team that threatens to beat us to winning the title is a rival.
“The rivalry with us is to do with who we’re competing against,” he added. “We were battling with Arsenal for years to win the league, so they were our rivals and I hated Arsenal. Then Chelsea came along and they won the league a couple of times, then we won it back off them, and I hated them completely. And then City came along and they weren’t ever on my radar before, they were never a threat to win anything. As soon as someone comes out of the woodwork and becomes a threat to win something that you think is yours then you get personal. Maybe hate is too strong but dislike a lot.”
Ramsin Isaac was at the event on behalf of RoM. Follow him on Twitter.