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14/07/2009 10:15,
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Heroes: El Diego

Diego Maradona, regarded as one of the finest of them all, has proved an inspiration to three United players...

Rio Ferdinand

My inspiration to play football was probably Diego Maradona. He’s the first memory I have of someone doing something really great. I had all his videos and loved watching him. He was a great player - a great team player and a great individual player. In my eyes, he's the best ever. I remember in the 1986 World Cup he took on the whole England team and scored. Obviously I wasn’t happy that he scored against England but you had to admire the skill and say, ‘I’d love to be able to do that one day’. I tried my hardest but never really reached that level and obviously I’m a defender now. Maradona came down to Carrington to watch us train last season and we were all like school kids around him! I think the gaffer might like him to come down every day given the way it raised everyone's standards – we were all trying to impress him! We were all clamouring to get pictures taken with him and it was nice to shake his hand and get a cuddle off him; it made my day.

Wayne Rooney
My favourite player is Maradona. I’ve watched lots of videos of him in action and I just love the way he played. In my eyes he’s the best player of

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Rio hails 'best ever'

"My inspiration to play football was probably Diego Maradona. He’s the first memory I have of someone doing something really great. I had all his videos and loved watching him. He was a great player - a great team player and a great individual player. In my eyes, he's the best ever."

- Rio Ferdinand

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