Armed with elegance, pace and an astute ability to read the game, Rio Ferdinand is one of the finest defenders in world football.
The Peckham-born star burst onto the scene with West Ham under the guidance of Harry Redknapp, later signing for Leeds in November 2000. However, the 2002 World Cup was Rio's real coming out party as his performances with England ultimately convinced Sir Alex Ferguson to part ways with an estimated £30million.
Now over 400 first-team appearances and countless trophies later, Ferdinand remains a giant of modern football and is widely regarded as one of the
finest defenders to have played on these shores.
Although his first season was initially hampered by injury, Rio became an integral player as United overtook Arsenal to claim the Barclays Premier League - capping a fine debut season in M16 for the new recruit.
However, in September 2003, disaster struck as Ferdinand missed a routine drugs test and was later banned from football for eight months, not returning until a 2-1 win over Liverpool in September 2004.
Since then, Rio has consistently justified his tag as a world-class defender, providing the silk to United's defensive steel while