12/05/2014 23:16, Report by B Hibbs & A Bostock

Pics: Rio's Reds journey

Rio Ferdinand was an influential figure at Manchester United for 12 years, helping the club to maintain the dominance it had established in the 1990s.

Ferdinand moved to Old Trafford from Leeds United in 2002, a controversial crossing of the Pennines that he was brave enough to make in search of the silverware he was certain he would find in Manchester. He lifted the Premier League trophy at the end of his first season at the club, 2002/03, and although the title went south to his native London with Arsenal and Chelsea (twice) for the next three seasons, Rio and the Reds eventually emerged on top as Sir Alex Ferguson nurtured what was arguably his greatest-ever side.

Domestic supremacy was secured with three consecutive Premier League triumphs between 2007-2009, while the second of those titles, in 2008, was accompanied by Champions League glory, and the following season yielded the Club World Cup in Japan. Ferdinand was absolutely central to that success, captaining the Reds in both the European and world finals. Even when his partner in a formidable pairing, Nemanja Vidic, wore the armband, Rio still looked a natural leader with his composure, speed, power and an innate ability to read the game and position himself perfectly to dispossess attackers.

Our gallery above shows some of Ferdinand's finest moments at Manchester United. Thanks for the memories, Rio, and good luck for the future. | More: Rio leaves the Reds


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