Rio Ferdinand has penned a 5-year-deal with United today, which should see him spend the rest of his career at the club. A complete change around in attitude and performance has seen Rio go from an unpopular man to one of the fans’ better liked players.

After Ronaldo, he is has been our best player this season, putting in solid performances against some of the best attacking players in the World. Fernando Torres, who has had an incredible debut season in the Premiership, was AWOL in both games against United this season, courtesy of Rio’s superb defending. Barcelona, with the talent of Messi, Eto’o and Henry, couldn’t score a goal over two legs, and Van der Sar had little to do in either match.

With Gary Neville out injured all season and Ryan Giggs playing in fewer matches towards the close of the season, Rio Ferdinand has donned our captain’s armband on numerous occasions. His capabilities as a leader were noted by new England manager Fabio Capello, who made our defender captain in an international friendly against France.

Sir Alex Ferguson has today praised Ferdinand’s maturity, claiming he has become a great leader and captain at United.

“Rio’s contribution this season has been a major factor in our outstanding defensive performance and I am delighted he has signed a new contract,” said Ferguson. “Rio has matured into his role at the club and has shown, when needed, what a great captain and leader he can be.”

Ferguson isn’t the only man happy with the new deal, with Ferdinand today speaking about the great honour he feels playing for our club and has high expectations for the future.

“Manchester United is a fantastic club and I am delighted I have signed a new contract,” he said. “It is a great honour to be part of this trophy-winning team and to share in the success, which I am sure will continue for many seasons to come.”

Do you think Rio will see out his career at United?