Rio Ferdinand is a former English professional footballer who played as a centre back and currently works as television pundit for BT Sport. The former England International played 81 times for the England national team between 1997 and 2011 and was a member of three FIFA World Cup squads. Ferdinand is regarded by many to be one of England’s greatest ever players and he is one of the most decorated English footballers of all time.
A young Rio Ferdinand had dreams of being a professional footballer, possessing natural balance and athleticism, Ferdinand was extremely talented in ballet at the young age of just eleven. With Charlton, Chelsea, Millwall, Queens Park Rangers and Middlesbrough wanting to sign Ferdinand, he signed his first youth contract with West Ham in January 1994.
Making his senior debut in May of 1996, Ferdinand spent a further four years at the club, being crowned ‘Hammer of the Year’ for the 1997/98 season. In February of 1997, at the age of nineteen, Ferdinand became the youngest defender to play for England coming off the bench to replace an injured Gareth Southgate. His continually spectacular performances meant Ferdinand made further history three years later when Leeds United paid a staggering £18 million to bring him to Elland Road. A British transfer record, Ferdinand had also become the world’s most expensive defender. Rio would go on to break both records again, two seasons later, but not before starring in Leeds’ stunning run to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
The draw and prestige of the Champions League would be something that Rio Ferdinand would later becomeaccustomed to competing in following his monumental £30 million transfer to world famous football team, Manchester United, a world class club, for a player looking to fulfil his potential as a world class player.
After winning his first Premier League title in his debut season at Old Trafford, Ferdinand went on to forge one of the best defensive partnerships in the world with fellow defender, Nemanja Vidic. After securing consecutive Premier League titles between 2006 and 2009, along with a historic Champions League win in 2008, Manchester United cemented their dominant force in British and World football, once again.
In one of the most decorated and illustrious domestic careers in footballing history, Ferdinand was a part of a Manchester United team that won six Premier League titles, two League Cup wins, five Community Shieldvictories, one FIFA Club World Cup and a European Champions League. Over the course of 12 prestigious years at Manchester United, Ferdinand has lifted some of the most sought-after trophies in club football, aside of the 81 caps he won for the country he also captained and is England’s second most capped black playerbehind Ashley Cole. A truly spectacular career, Rio Ferdinand has lived the footballing dream.
Alongside his punditry work with BT Sport where Ferdinand is extremely popular amongst fans for his unique and fascinating insights along with his passion, Ferdinand also recently discussed strategies for coping with bereavement in the BBC One documentary Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad where he discussed the tragic loss of his wife.
Off the field Rio still retains the same enthusiasm and passion for a variety that he had as a child on the streets of Peckham, with a number of other interests outside of football. This includes a keen focus on charity work and social issues, publishing, film as well as music.
A career and life filled with highs and lows, Ferdinand enjoyed the riches of success and football however has had a number of lows and controversies which he has been involved in, these occurrences are discussed by Rio when he performs as a football speaker and allows him to provide a unique insight into dealing with adversity and hardship in all walks of life and what is takes to bounce back.
A true footballing legend and icon, Rio Ferdinand really has experienced football and life like few others ever will. A true gentleman who has a wealth of knowledge along with a host of tales and anecdotes coupled with a life filled with trials and tribulations, Rio Ferdinand is certain to captivate, inspire and intrigue any audience and is available to hire as a football speaker for any event.