The Sunday People
and other media revealed, on Sunday 21st July 2002, in their coverage
of Rio Ferdinand's transfer to Manchester United that World
Cup hero Rio had had a trial with Norwich as a youngster prior
to signing YTS forms with West Ham. In fact, Rio had trials with
Chelsea, Charlton, Middlesborough and Millwall besides Norwich
before joining the Hammers where as an apprentice he cleaned Tony
Peckham born and bred, Rio made his way through the youth ranks
at Upton Park, turning professional in 1995. He made his debut
for West Ham in May 1996 in a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday
but spent some of the following season on loan to Bournemouth.
Returning to a first team spot, his form won him the attention
of the England set-up and he won his first Under-21 cap in 1997
before making his full debut against Cameroon in November 1997.
He attended the France 98 World Cup squad as part of Glenn Hoddle's
England squad but didn't play. Kevin Keegan omitted him from England's
Euro 2000 squad but his performances for West Ham were gaining
attention from the big boys of football.
In November 2000, Rio transferred to Leeds United for a British
record fee of £18million. He had made 127 league appearances
for the Hammers, scoring twice. At Leeds, he helped them to the
European Champions League semi-finals and became a regular in
Sven Goran Eriksson's England squad, playing in the historic 5-1
win over Germany in Munich.
The summer of 2002 was a milestone in Rio's career for two factors.
First of all, he had an impressive World Cup for England in Japan
and Korea, Many would rate him as England's star performer. The
other factor was Leeds' financial situation resulting in their
massive outlay on players to try and win success. A trophyless
2001/02 season resulted in Leeds needing to cut back their £77m
debts. Therefore they were in no position to reject speculation
concerning Ferdinand's future despite four years remaining on
his Elland Road contract. Alex Ferguson's own fears of repeating
their trophyless 2001/02 season saw Manchester United put their
money on the table.
Rio finally completed his move to Old Trafford on July 22nd 2002
making him Britain's most expensive player at £30million.
What this will mean for Rio, Man Utd and Leeds still has to be
seen but Ferdinand is optimistic. "I'm delighted to be
joining one of the biggest clubs in the world. I want to win trophies
and I feel that I can do it here. I would not have come here if
I wasn't confident of winning the Champions League". The
Premiership was won in his first season at Old Trafford.
In October 2003, Rio hit the headlines when it was revealed that
he had "forgotten" to take an FA proscribed drugs test.
Although he had taken the test two days later, the FA felt compellted
to act following the disgrceful allegations of gang rape by Premiership
players the week earlier, a rape allageation over Leeds' midfielder
Jody Morris and Craig Bellamy being
found guilty of threatening behaviour. Rio was dropped from the
England squad for the vital Euro2004 qualifying clash with Turkey
even though UEFA had nothing to do with the test. This prompted
a backlash from the England players who accused the FA of betraying
them. If Rio is found guilty, he could be suspended for two years.
With these allegations hanging over him, it is not surprising
to see media reports suggesting that Rio is homesick and would
seek a return to London - with Chelsea being keen to provide £20m
to help him on his way back South. Rio eventually was suspended
for six months.
On May 9th 2006, Rio, as expected, was named by Sven Goran Eriksson
in the England squad for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.
England reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup but lost on
penalties to Portugal on 1st July 2006. Rio had an impressive
tournament showing some of the form that made him Britain's most
expensive player four years previously.
On 15th April 2008, his agent Pini Zahavi told the Daily Express
that Rio Ferdinand had agreed a new five-year contract with Manchester
United "Rio is very happy there, he wanted to stay at
United and they wanted him to stay. "Of course he
could have gone to another club, but he did not want to."
Zahavi added that he thought the deal, which is believed to
be worth £130,000 a week, will not be the defender's last
at Old Trafford.
Ferdinand was surprisingly left out of Roy Hodgsons England squad
for the Euro 2012 championships.
On 12th May 2014, it was announced that Ferdinand would leave
Manchester United in the summer of 2014 as he had not been offered
a new contract. He had made 454 appearances for United, scoring
eight goals. "After 12 fantastic years, I have decided
the time is right for me to move on," said Ferdinand.
Ferdinand helped United win six league titles, two League Cups,
one Champions League and a Club World Cup.He made his final appearance
for the Old Trafford club in the 1-1 draw at Southampton in the
final game of the 2013/14 season.
After commentating in Brazil at the World Cup for the BBC, Ferdinand
signed a one year contract with Queen's Park Rangers on 18th July
2014, This reunited him with his former West Ham manager Harry
Redknapp. "I had a lot of offers from all over the world
but the draw for me was to play in the Premier League, It's not
about money - I had loads of more lucrative offers available to
me. I still feel I've got something to offer and I'm excited about
helping this club cement its place in the Premier League"
Ferdinand was released by QPR at the end of the 2014/15 season
following their relegation to the Championship. He then announced