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.
After that, Rio consistently justified his tag as a world-class defender, providing the silk to United's defensive steel while chipping in with occasional valuable goals.
In May 2008, Ferdinand signed a new five-year contract to keep him at Old Trafford until 2013. Six days later, he would help United seal UEFA Champions League glory in Moscow; a fitting way to end a near flawless season for the centre-back.
His good form continued into the 2008/09 campaign, playing a crucial role in United's record-breaking clean-sheet run. Certainly, without his consistency at the back, the Reds may not have gone on to win another league title.
Unfortunately, injuries interrupted Rio's 2009/10 campaign and the defender made just 12 starts