Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has claimed that he and Nemanja Vidic are the two best defenders in Premier League history.
The 43-year-old and Virgil van Dijk were guests on the Between the Lines podcast and were each asked to name their top five defenders in Premier League history.
Ferdinand placed himself at the top of the list. He also stated his belief that Vidic does not get as much credit as he deserves for how good a footballer he was at Manchester United.
“I believe I was number one, serious, I’m putting myself number one straight away that’s how I approach everything. I’m going to go for Vidic second, partner in crime, I thought he led by example, didn’t ever say much. ‘I was a talker, an organiser, he was an animal. He was the only player I saw that strikers looked at and thought ‘Woah’, look at his nose, he used a head through people to win the ball but he was actually a better footballer than people make out, he read the game really well, we had a good partnership.”
The two men spent nine seasons together at Manchester United and their defensive partnership is often considered among the greatest in Premier League history.
Their time together at Old Trafford saw them win nine major honors, including five Premier League titles. Vidic is one of only four players to win the Premier League Player of the Season award on two occasions and remains the only defender to win the award.
Manchester United’s defense lacks the solidity and organization that Vidic and Ferdinand provided
Defensive solidity was a hallmark of Manchester United in the past and a strong defense often provided the bedrock for the successes they enjoyed in their heydey.
However, the Red Devils have struggled for defensive consistency in the last decade. Despite spending a significant amount to strengthen their backline, opposing teams still breach the Mancunians at will.
David de Gea is perhaps the only member of the backline who covered himself with glory last season. United conceded 57 goals in the just-concluded season, which marks their worst defensive performance in over three decades.
This is a long way off the levels the club operated at in the past and one of Erik ten Hag’s priorities will be to solidify the backline.