24/12/2009 09:16, Report by Gemma Thompson
Players of the Decade: #7
Rio Ferdinand joined the Reds in July 2002 as the world’s most expensive defender and, over the course of the decade, he has developed into one of the finest on the planet.
After helping United reclaim the Premier League crown from Arsenal in his first season, the talented and cultured centre-half has gone on to become one of the Reds' most influential and consistent performers. His leadership qualities have seen him made skipper for club and country on numerous occasions; indeed he captained United to Champions League, Club World Cup and Carling Cup glory. He has also chipped in with valuable goals, perhaps most dramatically with an injury-time winner against Liverpool in January 2006.
Rio has consistently justified his world-class defender tag with a string of calm and collected displays and, over the last few years, has formed an imposing partnership with Nemanja Vidic. Both played a crucial role in the team's record-breaking clean-sheet run last season on the way to a third successive title.