Rio Ferdinand

Rio enters Premier League Hall of Fame

Wednesday 03 May 2023 10:00

Rio Ferdinand has been revealed as the latest member of the Premier League Hall of Fame.

The former Manchester United defender got the nod from a shortlist of 15 players, following an online public vote and input from the Premier League Awards Panel.

Five other ex-Reds were in that group - Michael Carrick, Andy Cole, Gary Neville, Michael Owen and Rio's regular centre-back partner Nemanja Vidic.

Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger were also inducted recently, with other United representation already in place in the shape of Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Roy Keane (all in 2021), plus Paul Scholes, Peter Schmeichel and Wayne Rooney (a year later).

Watch Rio Ferdinand score the final home goal of Sir Alex Ferguson's career.
Rio won six Premier League titles with Sir Alex's men, after joining from Leeds United for a British transfer record fee in 2002, the most recent of which came in the legendary manager's final campaign in charge. Indeed, Rio scored the last-ever home goal of Ferguson's glorious reign, a late winner against Swansea City in 2013.

In total, he played 504 games during 20 seasons in the Premier League, also featuring for West Ham United, Leeds and Queens Park Rangers, and has 189 clean sheets to his name.

He receives a medallion engraved with his name and a £10,000 donation for a charity of his choice.

When asked which title meant the most to him, Rio replied: "The last one with Sir Alex, because it was his last one as well, and it was such a big moment. That title meant the most because a lot of people had doubted me going into that season. There was talk about me maybe going to Spurs, and I had a lot of injuries around that time as well.

"Then we had that season and I played a lot of games. I got into the Premier League Team of the Season that year and we won the league. Everyone says: 'Oh, it was the worst team that Sir Alex Ferguson had that won the league.'

"Bad teams don’t win Premier Leagues. That team knew how to grind and fight, and could finish teams off."

Ferdinand honoured by the Hall Of Fame Video

Ferdinand honoured by the Hall Of Fame

Rio Ferdinand discusses his journey to becoming a pro and entering the Premier League Hall of Fame...

The recognition clearly means a lot to the 44-year-old Londoner, who has forged a post-playing career as a much-respected voice on the game.

“As a defender, I'm not used to celebrating personal glory," he admitted. "We leave that to the midfielders and strikers! When you start your career, you never dream of how well things could turn out.

"I remember all those long journeys on trains and tubes; all the training, cleaning players’ boots and taking care of the kit. I remember going back to my estate and seeing my friends who were all desperate to know what it was like. It’s a great feeling to be recognised by my peers, as well as the fans. To be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame alongside such a high calibre of players and to be able to say that I achieved my dream is special. The Premier League is the Holy Grail, and I just can’t believe I made it.

"The only thing I can think of [in terms of leaving a legacy], without patting myself on the back too much, would be the way I played my position which was probably something that set me apart. At that time, a centre-half who’s comfortable running out with the ball and taking the ball under pressure, wasn’t really what the position’s identity was about but that was my identity.

"You look at the players now, that’s a massive part of the way young centre-backs play because those are the demands put on players. I’d love to have played today."

Congratulations to Rio from everybody at United!