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Rio Ferdinand

Rio Gavin Ferdinand (born 7 November 1978) is an English Association football. Rio Ferdinand plays at Defender (association football) Centre back for Manchester United F.C. in the Premier League and for the England national football team. Rio Ferdinand has amassed 81 cap (football) for England in total, and has been a member of three FIFA World Cup squads. Ferdinand is an excellent reader of the game with great positional sense and composure on the ball, however Rio Ferdinand does show the occasional lapse of concentration.

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Rio Ferdinand biography

Rio Gavin Ferdinand (born 7 November 1978) is an English Association football. Rio Ferdinand plays at Defender (association football) Centre back for Manchester United F.C. in the Premier League and for the England national football team. Rio Ferdinand has amassed 81 cap (football) for England in total, and has been a member of three FIFA World Cup squads. Ferdinand is an excellent reader of the game with great positional sense and composure on the ball, however Rio Ferdinand does show the occasional lapse of concentration.

Ferdinand began Rio Ferdinand football career playing for various youth teams, finally settling at West Ham United F.C. where Rio Ferdinand progressed through the youth ranks and made Rio Ferdinand professional Premier League debut in 1996. Rio Ferdinand became a fan favourite, winning the 'Hammer of the Year award' the following season. Rio Ferdinand earned Rio Ferdinand first senior international cap in a match against Cameroon national football team in 1997, setting a record as the youngest defender to play for England at the time. Rio Ferdinand achievements and footballing potential attracted Leeds United A.F.C. and Rio Ferdinand transferred to the club for a record-breaking fee of £18 million. Rio Ferdinand spent two seasons at the club, becoming the captain (association football) in 2001.

Rio Ferdinand joined Manchester United in July 2002 for around Pound sterling30 million, breaking the transfer fee record once more. Rio Ferdinand won the Premier League, Rio Ferdinand first major club honour, in a successful first season at the club. In September 2003, Rio Ferdinand missed a drugs test and was banned from competition for eight months from January until September 2004, causing Rio Ferdinand to miss half a Premier League season, Manchester United's FA Cup triumph, and the Euro 2004 international competition. Upon Rio Ferdinand return, Rio Ferdinand established himself in the Manchester United first team and received plaudits for Rio Ferdinand performances, featuring in the PFA Team of the Year three times in four years. More club success followed with another Premier League win in the FA Premier League 2006–07 and a Premier League and UEFA Champions League double the following year.

Ferdinand has three children, Lorenz, Tate and Tia, with Rio Ferdinand wife Rebecca Ellison. Rio Ferdinand was born into a footballing family: brother Anton Ferdinand is also a centre-back for Queens Park Rangers F.C. and former England international striker Les Ferdinand is Rio Ferdinand cousin, as is Southend United F.C. midfielder Kane Ferdinand. Off the pitch Rio Ferdinand is involved with youth charities, film, music, and television including the prank series Rio's World Cup Wind-Ups.

Early life

Formative years and education

Ferdinand was born in Peckham, London, the son of Janice Lavender and Julian Ferdinand, a Saint Lucian. Ferdinand grew up on the Friary estate in Peckham as part of a large family. Both Rio Ferdinand parents worked to support the family, Rio Ferdinand mother as a child carer and Rio Ferdinand father as a tailor. Rio Ferdinand parents never married and they separated when Rio Ferdinand was 14 years old. Rio Ferdinand father remained close, moving to a nearby estate, and Rio Ferdinand was keen to stay involved in Rio Ferdinand children's lives, taking them to football training and to local parks.

Ferdinand had a good upbringing and was a happy child but Rio Ferdinand also had to learn to live without luxuries in low-income Peckham, a district of London where almost half the population are categorised as poor or borderline poor. Violent crime was a common occurrence in the area Rio Ferdinand lived. However, Rio Ferdinand largely avoided the darker sides of the neighbourhood. At school, Rio Ferdinand focused on maths and revelled in the opportunity to perform before an audience during a school production of Bugsy Malone. Rio Ferdinand also impressed Rio Ferdinand classmates with skill on the playground, constantly playing football, dreaming of turning professional and seeing new places. Success pending at club level, international football also began for Ferdinand; at 16 Rio Ferdinand joined the England youth team squad to compete in their age group's UEFA European Football Championship, gaining Rio Ferdinand first experience of international competition. In the 1997–98 season, Ferdinand won the Hammer of the Year award at the young age of 19.

Leeds United

Ferdinand joined FA Premier League club Leeds United A.F.C. in November 2000 for Pound sterling18 million, then a British transfer record as well as becoming the world's most expensive defender. Ferdinand settled well and became an integral part of the Leeds team that reached the semi-final stage of the UEFA Champions League, scoring with a header in the quarter-final against Spain's Deportivo de La Coruña. Other highlights during Rio Ferdinand spell in Yorkshire included goals against Liverpool F.C. at Anfield and a scoring return to Upton Park.

The following season, in August 2001, Rio Ferdinand became the club captain (association football) after replacing Lucas Radebe and turned in an impressive second campaign, despite Leeds' failure to break into the top four and secure qualification for the competition they had figured in so prominently during the previous season. During the 2002 FIFA World Cup, rumours began circulating that the club were in dire financial trouble and that new manager Terry Venables would be forced to part with Rio Ferdinand star defender for a substantial amount of cash. Later that summer after Ferdinand's impressive World Cup for England, Leeds accepted a bid of £29.1 million due to their perilous financial position.

Manchester United


On 22 July 2002, Ferdinand joined fellow Premier League side Manchester United F.C. on a five-year deal to become the most expensive United Kingdom footballer in history and the world's most expensive defender for a second time, a title Rio Ferdinand had lost in 2001 to Lilian Thuram. The fee included a basic element in the high £20 millions, and some conditional elements, which allowed Leeds to tell their fans that they were selling Rio Ferdinand for over £30 million. Leeds United A.F.C. later took a single payment in place of all the contingent elements when they were desperate for cash during their financial crisis. The final book value of Ferdinand's contract in Manchester United's accounts was £33 million. This included agents' fees, with Leeds receiving just under £30 million. Ferdinand went on to win the Premier League title with Manchester United in Rio Ferdinand first season at the club. Rio Ferdinand has also collected a winner's medal in the 2006 Football League Cup Final, with runners-up medals in the 2003 Football League Cup Final and the 2005 FA Cup Final.

In September 2003, Rio Ferdinand failed to attend a drug test, claiming Rio Ferdinand had forgotten because Rio Ferdinand was preoccupied with moving houses and instead went shopping. The Football Association chaired by Barry Bright imposed an eight month ban from January 2004 at club and international level and a £50,000 fine, meaning Rio Ferdinand would miss the rest of the season and some of the next along with all of 2004 European Football Championship. Manchester United appealed against the verdict and sought to draw parallels to the case of Manchester City player Christian Negouai, who was fined £2,000 for missing a test. However, FIFA president Sepp Blatter stated that such comparisons are inappropriate due to differences between the two cases. Negouai had been stuck in traffic and was willing to take the test, while Ferdinand was charged with "failure or refusal" to attend the test. Both the FA and FIFA sought to have the ban increased to 12 months (half the possible maximum). In the end, the original verdict was upheld.

On 14 December 2005, in a game against Wigan Athletic F.C., Ferdinand scored Rio Ferdinand first goal for United, en route to a 4–0 victory. This was Rio Ferdinand first goal after more than three years at Old Trafford. Rio Ferdinand followed this up with a powerfully headed goal against West Bromwich Albion F.C.. Rio Ferdinand then scored a last minute winner against Liverpool F.C. at Old Trafford, possibly Rio Ferdinand most important Manchester United goal to date. In the corresponding fixture in the following season on 22 October 2006, Rio scored again in a 2–0 victory.

Following impressive and consistent performances in the league, Rio Ferdinand was named in the 2006–07 in English football PFA Team of the Year alongside seven of Rio Ferdinand Manchester United team-mates.


Ferdinand started the 2007–08 season well, Rio Ferdinand was part of a United defence that managed to keep six clean sheets in a row in the Premier League, before conceding an early goal to Aston Villa F.C. at Villa Park (stadium) on 20 October 2007. It was also during this game where Ferdinand scored Rio Ferdinand first goal of the season, which was United's third goal of that game, with a left foot strike which took a very strong deflection off one of Villa's defenders. Just three days later, Ferdinand scored Rio Ferdinand first European goal for United by opening the scoring against FC Dynamo Kyiv, with a superb header. United dominated the game and won 4–2. On 12 January 2008 Ferdinand bagged a rare Premier League goal in a 6–0 hammering of Newcastle United F.C. at Old Trafford. In their FA Cup quarter-final match against Portsmouth F.C. on 8 March 2008 when Manchester United dominated, Ferdinand made a rare appearance as a goalkeeper, after Edwin van der Sar left the pitch with a groin injury and the replacement keeper, Tomasz Kuszczak, was sent off after conceding a penalty. Despite diving the right way, Rio Ferdinand was unable to save Sulley Muntari's spot kick, and Manchester United were eliminated from the FA Cup. On 6 April 2008, against Middlesbrough F.C., Ferdinand limped out of the match due to a foot injury. Rio Ferdinand was rated doubtful whether Rio Ferdinand would face A.S. Roma in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg on 9 April 2008. Rio Ferdinand would play the full 90 minutes, though Rio Ferdinand received three stitches at half-time.

After United's 2–1 loss to Chelsea in the Premier League in April 2008 Ferdinand, angry at the defeat, swore at Chelsea stewards and tried to kick a wall in the tunnel, but instead kicked a female steward, Tracy Wray. Ferdinand claimed to have merely brushed her with Rio Ferdinand foot. Ferdinand said Rio Ferdinand apologised and sent the steward some flowers. However, Wray showed the bruise on her leg to the media and her husband claimed that Ferdinand did not apologise or send flowers.

It was announced on 16 April 2008 that, along with Michael Carrick and Wes Brown, Ferdinand had agreed to sign a new five-year contract, worth around £130,000 a week, which would keep Rio Ferdinand with United until 2013. The contract was finally signed on 15 May 2008. On 21 May 2008, Ferdinand captained Manchester United to a 2008 UEFA Champions League Final victory versus Chelsea F.C.. Rio Ferdinand accepted the trophy together with Ryan Giggs, as Giggs was the on field captain for most of the matches during that season during Gary Neville's absence due to injury.

In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live Rio Ferdinand criticised FIFA's approach to tackling racism in football, stating that not enough was being done to punish those guilty of homophobic or racist abuse at matches. Regarding taunts aimed at Emile Heskey in England's 4–1 victory against Croatia in Zagreb, Ferdinand remarked:

"Croatia were fined a few thousand quid. What's that going to do? That is not going to stop people shouting racist or homophobic abuse...If things like this keep happening you have to take points off them. Then the punters will realise the team is going to be punished."

Ferdinand had an injury plagued 2009–10 season, a number of back and knee injuries kept Rio Ferdinand on the sidelines for months. Rio Ferdinand returned to action on 28 January 2010, but was banned for four games after being found guilty of violent conduct for elbowing Hull City A.F.C.'s Craig Fagan.

Due to a knee injury Rio Ferdinand suffered in the summer of 2010, which ruled Rio Ferdinand out of the World Cup for England, Rio Ferdinand missed all of pre-season, the Community Shield and the first four games of the 2010–11 Premier League season. Rio Ferdinand returned to first-team football in the opening game of the Champions League group stage against Rangers F.C. on 14 September. Rio Ferdinand captained the side and played the full 90 minutes in a goalless draw.

Ferdinand started the season opening game in August 2011, the 2011 FA Community Shield, where United found themselves 2-0 down at half time to city rivals Manchester City. Ferdinand was taken off after 45 minutes along with defensive partner Nemanja Vidić and replaced by Jonny Evans and Phil Jones (footballer) respectively. United went on to win the game 3-2 and Ferdinand claimed Rio Ferdinand fourth Community Shield medal of Rio Ferdinand career. Ferdinand started in the opening Premier League match of the season at West Bromwich Albion, a game United won 2-1, but Rio Ferdinand went off with a hamstring injury after 75 minutes. After the match Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed that Ferdinand would be out for six weeks. Ferdinand however recovered much quicker than initially diagnosed and returned to take a place on the bench two weeks later at Old Trafford in United's 8-2 demolition of Arsenal F.C., although Rio Ferdinand did not play a part in the game. Ferdinand made Rio Ferdinand return to competitive action in a 1-1 draw against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.

International career

At the age of 19 years and 8 days, Ferdinand earned Rio Ferdinand first full England cap as a substitute in a friendly against Cameroon national football team on 15 November 1997, making Rio Ferdinand the youngest defender to play for England at the time (a record broken in 2006 by Micah Richards.) Ferdinand would have made an even earlier debut in September had Rio Ferdinand not been charged with drink-driving in the build up to England's 1998 FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Moldova national football team. Ferdinand was named in the squad for this game and was a likely starter, however the public mourning for Princess Diana – whose chauffeur had been suspected of drink-driving – left Glenn Hoddle with little choice but to drop the talented teenager from the squad. After an impressive 1997/98 season Rio Ferdinand was selected for the 1998 World Cup squad as a back-up defender. However, Rio Ferdinand was not selected in Kevin Keegan's 22-man squad for UEFA Euro 2000

After Rio Ferdinand £18m move to Leeds United, Ferdinand was handed a start by caretaker manager Peter Taylor (footballer born 1953) in a Exhibition game against Italy national football team and quickly established himself as a first choice player under Sven-Göran Eriksson. Rio Ferdinand was selected as one of England's two first choice centre backs at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and 2006 FIFA World Cup FIFA World Cup, wearing the number 5 shirt. John Terry (who Rio Ferdinand would later partner for many years in central defence) replaced Ferdinand in the England side throughout Rio Ferdinand eight month ban until Rio Ferdinand return on 9 October 2004 in their World Cup qualifier against Wales national football team. Ferdinand has played ten World Cup matches for England, Rio Ferdinand was substituted before Henrik Larsson scored for Sweden national football team in the 2006 World Cup).

The Duran Duran song "Rio (song)" has been used in football chants both for and against Ferdinand; in fact, in 2002, fan Simon Le Bon (Duran Duran's lead singer) promised to re-record one of the football chants if the team won. However, the team failed to win and the promise never had the chance to come to fruition.

Ferdinand has scored three goals for England national football team, the first in the 2002 FIFA World Cup Round of 16 match against Denmark national football team (although some sources credit this goal as a Thomas Sørensen own goal). The second was a near post strike that beat the Russian goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev in England's UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying against Russia national football team on 12 September 2007 at Wembley Stadium. The third on 11 October 2008 in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying match at home to Kazakhstan national football team. England won 5–1.

On 25 March 2008 it was announced that Rio would wear the captain's armband for Fabio Capello's second game in charge of the national team, ahead of John Terry, Steven Gerrard or David Beckham, who some believed would be named captain to mark Rio Ferdinand 100th cap for Rio Ferdinand country. An The Football Association statement suggested that the decision to name Ferdinand as captain was part of Capello's plans of rotating the captaincy before naming an official captain for September's 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. On 19 August, however, Ferdinand lost out to Terry in retaining the captain's armband but named vice captain by Fabio Capello.

On 11 October 2008 Rio scored the opening goal in England's 5–1 win over Kazakhstan, a back post header in the 52nd minute. Rio Ferdinand was also named as captain for this game.

A blunder in the match between England and Ukraine national football team in Dnipro on 10 October 2009 which led to the ejection (sports) of Robert Green led some to question Rio Ferdinand inclusion in the squad. A lack of match practice for Rio Ferdinand club and a series of errors such as Rio Ferdinand suffered in Rio Ferdinand early days as a footballer have led to criticism of Rio Ferdinand inclusion from several corners.

On 5 February 2010, Ferdinand replaced John Terry as captain of England.

As of June 2010, Rio Ferdinand has 78 England caps to Rio Ferdinand name, placing Rio Ferdinand level with Ashley Cole and one short of (now retired) John Barnes (footballer) among the most capped black players to have appeared for the England team. Although Ferdinand has been named in the last four England national football team FIFA World Cup squads (albeit without playing in 1998), Rio Ferdinand has never been to a UEFA European Championship due to a ban for missing a drugs test and due to England's failure to qualify for UEFA Euro 2008. Although back and groin injury problems forced Rio Ferdinand to miss much of the 2009–10 domestic season, Ferdinand was selected to captain England at the 2010 World Cup. However, Rio Ferdinand suffered a knee ligament injury during the team's first training session in South Africa on 4 June and was subsequently ruled out of the tournament. On 19 March 2011, ahead of England's Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales, manager Fabio Capello announced that John Terry was re-instated as permanent England captain and that Ferdinand would return to Rio Ferdinand role of vice-captain.

International goals


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