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05/08/2013 08:21,
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Making of the man

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Rio Ferdinand arrived at Old Trafford on 22 July 2002 swathed in cream suit and Cockney confidence, his £29million fee a British and world transfer record for a defender; and yet aside from the evident pomp and panache he has always lived up to the hype, ultimately letting his football do the talking.

"I want to win trophies and titles," he told the world's media, gathered to witness his unveiling. "That's why I am here. I'm aware of this club's history and of what I can achieve here. When you walk in and see pictures of George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law, you realise what this club means."

Fulfilling potential was also on Sir Alex Ferguson's mind when he signed the then 23-year-old. "There is great potential there," he said. "And from what we know we think Rio will develop into the best centre-half in the world."

It is a subjective and unofficial title, but at several points throughout his 432 club appearances in 11 years at Old Trafford, Ferdinand has been widely regarded as exactly that: the best in the business of classy, ball-playing centre-halves.

Pace, power, anticipation, acceleration, his reading of situations, his timing of tackles and his confidence and control on the ball set him strikingly apart, lending a continental presence to a position - in this country, at least - that had been dominated by no-nonsense, battle-hardened centre-back troops of yore.

It's been a case of style as well as substance as Rio has lived up to his aim of winning trophies in Manchester, hoarding 14 winners' medals. It took just ten months to get his hands on his first silverware: 2002/03's Premier League title. "It was a relief, really," he has since said. "When you come to United and the club has seen all this amazing success

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