Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has explained why he would opt to play alongside former defensive partner Nemanja Vidic over Liverpool stalwart Virgil van Dijk, if forced to choose between the pair.
When the discussion surrounding the finest central-defenders to ever ply their trade in the Premier League arises, the name of Nemanja Vidic is more often than not brought up.
Former Serbian international Vidic was, at his peak, one of, if not the finest centre-half in world football.
The no-nonsense stopper spent the peak years of his career in the colours of Manchester United, where he formed a formidable partnership alongside Rio Ferdinand.
While it was the likes of attackers Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney who so often took the plaudits for the Red Devils’ successes over the course of Vidic’s 8-year stay in Manchester, it was actually the Serbian, along with Ferdinand, who formed the base upon which the club’s European and domestic glory was built.
All told, between 2006 and 2014, Vidic secured 5 Premier League titles, 3 League Cups, the Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup with United.
And, as outlined above, one individual who would not swap Vidic even for the player whom many would argue is currently the finest defender on the planet is Rio Ferdinand.
During a Q&A on Instagram this weekend, former United star Ferdinand was drawn on which of Vidic or Liverpool standout Virgil van Dijk, in their primes, he would rather have played alongside.
And, despite revealing his huge admiration for the talents of van Dijk, Ferdinand simply could not opt for the Dutchman over his former partner in crime at Old Trafford, explaining:
‘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.’
Quotes via Goal