Sir Alex Ferguson and Nemanja Vidic.

Why Vidic was a special Christmas present

Saturday 25 December 2021 07:00

Cast your minds back to Christmas Day in 2005. Festivities on this particular occasion were interrupted by the news that Manchester United announced a new signing and what a transfer it was!

Although the formalities of the deal for Nemanja Vidic still needed finalising, and this would not take place until the new year, United wanted to proudly announce the capture of the Serbian defender, who would go on to become one of our most respected and decorated defenders.

Rumour has it that the Reds were keen to fend off rival interest from Liverpool and that is why the unusual step of relaying the news on a national holiday was taken.

United Quiz: Vidic


How much do you know about the Serbian star, signed on Christmas Day 2005?

In fact, there was plenty of other interest in the centre-back and Spartak Moscow were keen to keep him, as he still had a long-term contract in the Russian capital.

"Spartak is a great club but I want to play in a bigger and better league," commented Vidic as speculation mounted about his destination. "United are my first choice, my second is Fiorentina and there is also a third option. But I won't name that club."

Parma had also tried to lure him to Serie A in the past and it was claimed the player had designs on playing in Italy, which he would do eventually with Internazionale.

However, this was only after a glorious eight-year spell at Old Trafford as he won five Premier League titles and, of course, the Champions League in 2008 - back in Moscow.


There was no hiding Sir Alex Ferguson's delight at landing a top target, who would form a dream partnership at the heart of the defence with Rio Ferdinand.

"I'm delighted the two clubs have come to an agreement," said the Reds boss. "Nemanja is a quick, aggressive centre-half and, at 25, he will be a terrific addition to the squad.

"We have been watching him for some time now. I went to see him three years ago, against France, and he was only young at the time. But, in that particular game, he played as a man-marker and it was difficult for me to assess him because we never play with a man-marker.

"I said at the time, I really need to see him in a back four. In the last couple of years, he has been doing that for his international team, Serbia & Montenegro, and he has been very impressive."

It proved to be another masterstroke in the market by Sir Alex and the club.