By Harvey Byrne
Centre-back great Rio Ferdinand has told that he made it clear to his then Leeds manager and teammates that he wanted to quit for fierce rivals Manchester United when they made an approach for him 15 years a go.
The now 38-year-old was once the most expensive British footballer in history as well as the world’s most expensive defender on two occasions as he left Yorkshire for Old Trafford in the summer of 2002 for a fee of just under £30million.
His move came after just two seasons at Leeds following his signing from West Ham for £18million in the 2000 winter window and on his leaving the Whites finished in fifth place in the Premier League table under Irish boss David O’Leary.
Ferdinand’s departure wasn’t received well by the Leeds fan base due to the club’s previous season success as well as moving to a fierce rival in Manchester United, but the former England international has told that he didn’t have any second thoughts when the Red Devils approached.
“When I left Leeds to go to Manchester United I made it quite clear to my teammates and the manager at the time when I knew Manchester United were in for me that I wanted to go,” told Ferdinand, as shown on BT Sport’s official Twitter account.
“I think if you’re honest from the get go then I think you get respect and the players appreciate that.”
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 26, 2017
After his move to Old Trafford Ferdinand ended up staying at Manchester United for 12 years, where he won six Premier League titles, two League Cups and a Champions League winners medal in 2008.
Meanwhile, Leeds suffered relegation to England’s second tier in 2004 and haven’t made their return to the Premier League since, even dropping to League One for three seasons between 2007 and 2010.
In other Leeds news, Thomas Christiansen has given an update on the Whites’ search for a new striker.