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Rio Gavin Ferdinand (born 7 November 1978) is an Englishmarker footballer. He plays at centre back for Manchester United in the Premier League and at the international level for the England national football team. He has achieved 70 caps for the English national team while being selected for three FIFA World Cup squads. He is currently the vice-captain of the England national team and stand-in captain for Manchester United.

Known for his physical presence and composure on the ball, Ferdinand began his football career playing for various youth teams, finally settling at West Ham United where he progressed through the youth ranks and made his professional Premier League debut in 1996. He became a fan favourite, winning the 'Hammer of the Year award' the following season. He earned his first senior international cap in a match against Cameroon in 1997, setting a record as the youngest defender to play for England at the time. His achievements and footballing potential attracted Leeds United and he transferred to the club for a record-breaking fee of £18 million. He spent two seasons at the club, becoming the team captain in 2001.

He joined Manchester United in July 2002 for around £30 million, breaking the transfer fee record once more. He won the Premier League, his first major club honour, in a successful first season at the club. He missed a drugs test and was banned from competition for eight months, causing him to miss half a Premier League season and the Euro 2004 international competition. Upon his return, he established himself in the Manchester United first team and received plaudits for his performances, featuring in the PFA Team of the Year three times in four years. More club success followed with another Premier League win in the 2006–07 season and a Premier League and UEFA Champions League double the following year. His importance to the national team was underlined in March 2008 when Ferdinand captained England for the first time.

Ferdinand has two sons, Lorenz and Tate, with his wife Rebecca Ellison. He was born into a footballing family: brother Anton Ferdinand is also a centre back and former England international Les Ferdinand is his cousin. Off the pitch he is involved with music and television including the short-lived prank series Rio's World Cup Wind-Ups.

Early life

Formative years and education

Rio Gavin Ferdinand, born on 7 November 1978 in Peckhammarker, Londonmarker, is the son of Janice, a woman of mixed Irish and English heritage, and Julian Ferdinand, a St Lucianmarker. Ferdinand grew up on the Friary estate in Peckham and was part of a large family. Both his parents worked to support their family, his mother as a child carer while his father was a tailor. His parents never married and they separated when he was 14 years old. However, his father remained close, moving to a nearby estate, and he was keen to stay involved in his children's lives, taking them to football training and the local parks. He attended Camelot primary school and was a boisterous child who numbered Mike Tyson and Diego Maradona among his heroes.

Ferdinand had a good upbringing and was a happy child but he also had to learn to live without luxuries in poverty-stricken Peckham, a London borough where almost half the population is either poor or borderline poor. Violent crime was a common occurrence in the area he lived. However, his parents drilled him with respectful instincts and he largely avoided the darker sides of the neighbourhood. At school, he focused on maths and revelled in the opportunity to perform before an audience, portraying Bugsy Malone in a school play. He also impressed his classmates with skill on the playground, constantly playing football, dreaming of turning professional and seeing new places.

"I always as a kid wanted to do something different, I'd get bored very easily – even playing football or hanging around with my mates.
So travelling away from home, meeting new people...
I enjoyed it."


He chose to attend Blackheathmarker Blue Coats High School, a school somewhat distant from his house, in order to meet new friends and he settled in well, feeling his confidence growing. His second year was marred by the death of a fellow pupil, Stephen Lawrence, and the event demonstrated the ever present threat of violence. Ferdinand enjoyed physical expression, taking part in not just football and gymnastics classes but drama, theatre and ballet too. He was an able child: by age ten he had been invited to train at the Queens Park Rangers F.C. academy and at age eleven he won a scholarship to attend the Central School of Ballet in London. He avidly attended the ballet classes, travelling to the city centre four days a week for four years. However, while the lessons surely improved his balance, it was professional football that he desired.

Youth team career

Ferdinand's superior footballing abilities were evident even as a child: when he was eleven years old a youth coach, David Goodwin, remarked "I'm going to call you Pelé, son, I like the way you play." Ferdinand was regularly playing in youth teams and at Eltham Town he played as an attacking midfielder but team scouts saw the young player had the potential to be a centre back instead. Teams vied for the young footballer's services and during his youth he trained with Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Millwall and Queens Park Rangers. Ferdinand was ever curious of different places and even travelled north to Middlesbrough's training ground, spending a good part of his school holidays in a bedsit just to be there.

London team West Ham United was to be his footballing home, however, and he joined their youth system in 1992. He signed his first Youth Training Scheme contract in January 1994 and played alongside players such as Frank Lampard at the academy. Things were not just burgeoning at club level for Ferdinand; at 16 he joined the England youth team squad to compete in their age group's UEFA European Football Championship, gaining his first experience of international competition.

Senior career

West Ham United

Originally scouted by Frank Lampard Sr., Ferdinand progressed through the youth team ranks, earning a professional contract and a place in the first team squad in the process. On 5 May 1996, Ferdinand made his senior team debut as he came on as a substitute for Tony Cottee in the Hammers' last game of the season, a 1–1 home draw against Sheffield Wednesday. In the 1997–98 season, Ferdinand won the Hammer of the Year award at the young age of 19.

Leeds United

Ferdinand joined FA Premier League football club Leeds United in November 2000 for £18 million, then a Britishmarker transfer record as well as becoming the world's most expensive defender. Despite an uncomfortable start to his career at Elland Roadmarker, beginning with a 3–0 defeat at Leicester CIty on his debut, Ferdinand settled well and became an integral part of the Leeds team that reached the semi-final stage of the UEFA Champions League, scoring with a header in the quarter-final against Spain's Deportivo La Coruña. Other highlights during his brief spell in Yorkshire included goals against Liverpool at Anfieldmarker and a scoring return to Upton Park. The following season, in August 2001, he became the club captain and turned in an impressive second campaign, despite United's failure to break into the top four and secure qualification for the competition they had figured in so prominently during the previous season. During the 2002 FIFA World Cup, rumours began circulating that the club were in dire financial trouble and that new manager Terry Venables would be forced to part with his star defender for a substantial amount of cash. Later that summer, Leeds accepted a bid of £29.1 million

Manchester United

Ferdinand in a Manchester United shirt
On 22 July 2002, Ferdinand joined fellow Premier League side Manchester United on a five-year deal to become the most expensive Britishmarker footballer in history, the world's most expensive defender again (a title he had lost in 2001 to Lilian Thuram). The fee included a basic element in the high twenty millions, and some conditional elements, which allowed Leeds to tell their fans that they were selling him for over thirty million. Leeds United later took a single payment in place of all the contingent elements when they were desperate for cash during their financial crisis. The final book value of Ferdinand's contract in Manchester United's accounts was £33 million. This included agents' fees, with Leeds receiving just under £30 million. Ferdinand suffered from a lack of form at the start of his Manchester United career, particularly illustrated by his performance against Real Madrid in the Champions League and in a 1–0 defeat by his former club Leeds United at Elland Road.

In 2003, he failed to attend a drug test, claiming he had forgotten because he was preoccupied with moving houses and instead went shopping. The FA Disciplinary Committee chaired by Barry Bright imposed an eight month ban from January 2004 at club and international level and a £50,000 fine, meaning he would miss the rest of the league season and some of the next along with all of Euro 2004. Manchester United appealed against the verdict and sought to draw parallels to the case of Manchester City player Christian Negouai, who was fined £2,000 for missing a test. However, FIFA president Sepp Blatter stated that such comparisons are inappropriate due to differences between the two cases. Negouai had been stuck in traffic and was willing to take the test, while Ferdinand was charged with "failure or refusal" to attend the test. Both the FA and FIFA sought to have the ban increased to 12 months (half the possible maximum). In the end, the original verdict was upheld.

Ferdinand went on to win the Premier League title with Manchester United in his first season. He has also collected a winner's medal in the 2006 League Cup, with runners-up medals in the 2003 League Cup and the 2005 FA Cup.

On 14 December 2005, in a game against Wigan Athletic, Ferdinand scored his first goal for United, en route to a 4–0 victory. This was his first goal after more than three years at Old Traffordmarker. He followed this up with a powerfully headed goal against West Bromwich Albion. He then scored a last minute winner against Liverpool at Old Trafford, possibly his most important Manchester United goal to date. In the corresponding fixture in the following season on 22 October 2006, Rio scored again in a 2–0 victory.

Following impressive and consistent performances in the league, Rio Ferdinand was named in the 2006–07 PFA Premiership Team of the Season alongside seven of his fellow Manchester United teammates.

Ferdinand started the 2007–08 season well, he was part of a United defence that managed to keep six clean sheets in a row in the Premier League, before conceding an early goal to Aston Villa at Villa Parkmarker on 20 October 2007. It was also during this game where Ferdinand scored his first goal of the season, which was United's third goal of that game, with a left foot strike which took a very strong deflection off one of Villa's defenders. Just three days later, Ferdinand scored his first European goal for United by opening the scoring against Dynamo Kyiv, with a superb header. United dominated the game and won 4–2.

On 12 January 2008 Ferdinand bagged a rare Premier League goal in a 6–0 hammering of Newcastle United at Old Trafford.

In their FA Cup quarter-final match against Portsmouth on 8 March 2008 when Manchester United dominated, Ferdinand made a rare appearance as a goalkeeper, after Edwin van der Sar left the pitch with a groin injury and the replacement keeper, Tomasz Kuszczak, was sent off after conceding a penalty. Despite diving the right way, he was unable to save Sulley Muntari's spot kick, and Manchester United were eliminated from the FA Cup.

On 6 April 2008, against Middlesbrough, Ferdinand limped out of the match due to a foot injury. He was rated doubtful whether he would face A.S. Roma in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg on 9 April 2008. He would play the full 90 minutes, though he received three stitches at half-time.

Ferdinand as captain during the 2008–09 Champions League semi-final.
After United's 2–1 loss to Chelsea in the Premier League in April 2008 Ferdinand, angry at the defeat, swore at Chelsea stewards and tried to kick a wall in the tunnel, but instead kicked a female steward, Tracy Wray. Ferdinand claimed to have merely brushed her with his foot. Ferdinand said he apologised and sent the steward some flowers. However Wray disagreed and in the The Sun she showed the large bruise on her leg caused by Ferdinand 'brushing her with his foot'. Her husband also claimed that Ferdinand did not apologise or send flowers.

It was announced on 16 April 2008 that, along with Michael Carrick and Wes Brown, Ferdinand had agreed to sign a new five-year contract, worth around £130,000 a week, which would keep him with United until 2013. The contract was finally signed on 15 May 2008.

On 21 May 2008, Ferdinand captained Manchester United to a Champions League Final victory versus Chelsea. He accepted the trophy together with Ryan Giggs, as Giggs was the on field captain for most of the matches during that season during Gary Neville's absence due to injury.

In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live he criticised FIFA's approach to tackling racism in football, stating that not enough was being done to punish those guilty of homophobic or racist abuse at matches. Regarding taunts aimed at Emile Heskey in England's 4–1 victory against Croatia in Zagrebmarker, Ferdinand remarked:

"Croatia were fined a few thousand quid.
What's that going to do?
That is not going to stop people shouting racist or homophobic abuse...If things like this keep happening you have to take points off them.
Then the punters will realise the team is going to be punished."


International career

At the age of 19 years and 8 days, Ferdinand earned his first full England cap as a substitute in a friendly against Cameroon on 15 November 1997, making him the youngest defender to play for England at the time, a record broken in 2006 by Micah Richards. Ferdinand would have made an even earlier debut in September had he not been charged with drink driving in the build up to England's 1998 World Cup Qualifier against Moldova. Ferdinand was named in the squad for this game and was a likely starter, however the public mourning for Princess Diana - whose chauffer had been suspected of drink driving - left Glenn Hoddle with little choice but to drop the talented teenager from the squad. After an impressive 1997/98 season he was selected for the 1998 FIFA World Cup squad as a back-up defender. Ferdinand was selected as a first choice player at the 2002 and 2006 tournaments. John Terry replaced Ferdinand in the England side throughout his eight month ban until his return on 9 October 2004 in their World Cup qualifier against Wales. Ferdinand has played ten World Cup matches for England, he was substituted before Henrik Larsson scored for Sweden in the 2006 World Cup). On 25 March 2008, Ferdinand was named captain of England for the friendly against France on 26 March 2008.

The Duran Duran song "Rio" has been used in football chants both for and against Ferdinand; in fact, in 2002, fan Simon Le Bon (Duran Duran's lead singer) promised to re-record one of the football chants if the team won. However, the team failed to win and the promise never had the chance to come to fruition.

Ferdinand has scored three goals for England, the first in the Second round of the 2002 World Cup match against Denmark (although some sources credit this goal as a Thomas Sørensen own goal). The second was a near post strike that beat the Russian goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev in England's Euro 2008 qualifier against Russia on 12 September 2007 at Wembley Stadium. The third on 11 October 2008 in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying match at home to Kazakhstan. England won 5–1.

On 25 March 2008 it was announced that Rio would wear the captain's armband for Fabio Capello's second game in charge of the national team, ahead of John Terry, Steven Gerrard or David Beckham, who some believed would be named captain to mark his 100th cap for his country. An FA statement suggested that the decision to name Ferdinand as captain was part of Capello's plans of rotating the captaincy before naming an official captain for September's World Cup qualifiers.

On 19 August, however, Ferdinand lost out to Terry in retaining the captain's armband but named vice captain by Fabio Capello.

On 11 October 2008 Rio scored the opening goal in England's 5–1 win over Kazakhstan, a back post header in the 52nd minute. He was also named as captain for this game.

Although Ferdinand has been named in the last three England World Cup squads (albeit without playing in 1998), he has never been to a European Championship due to a ban for missing a drugs test and due to England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008.

He was criticized for his costly slip that allowed Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt to score minutes after kick-off in a August 2009 friendly against the Dutch. The match ended 2-2 as Jermain Defoe scored a brace after England went two goals down.

Another blunder in the match between England and Ukraine in Dnipro on 10 October 2009 which led to the sending off of Robert Green has led many to question his inclusion in the squad. A lack of match practice for his club and a series of errors such as he suffered in his early days as a footballer have led to criticism of his inclusion from several corners.

International goals

Scores and results list England's goal tally first.


# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 15 June 2002 Niigata, Japanmarker 1-0 3-0 2002 FIFA World Cup
2 12 September 2007 Londonmarker, Englandmarker 3-0 3-0 UEFA Euro 2008 Qual.
3 11 October 2008 Londonmarker, Englandmarker 1-0 5-1 2010 FIFA World Cup Qual.


Honours

Club

Manchester United



Individual



Career statistics

Club Season League Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
West Ham United 1995–96 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
1996–97 15 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 17 2
Bournemouth (loan) 1996–97 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 11 0
West Ham United 1997–98 35 0 6 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 46 0
1998–99 31 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 33 0
1999–2000 33 0 1 0 3 0 3 0 6 0 46 0
2000–01 12 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 14 0
Total 127 2 9 0 12 0 3 0 6 0 157 2
Leeds United 2000–01 23 2 2 0 0 0 7 1 0 0 32 3
2001–02 31 0 1 0 2 0 7 0 0 0 41 0
Total 54 2 3 0 2 0 14 1 0 0 73 3
Manchester United 2002–03 28 0 3 0 4 0 11 0 0 0 46 0
2003–04 20 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 1 0 27 0
2004–05 31 0 5 0 1 0 5 0 0 0 42 0
2005–06 37 3 2 0 5 0 8 0 0 0 52 3
2006–07 33 1 7 0 0 0 9 0 0 0 49 1
2007–08 35 2 4 0 0 0 11 1 1 0 51 3
2008–09 24 0 3 0 1 0 11 0 4 0 43 0
2009–10 5 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 8 0
Total 213 6 24 0 11 0 63 1 7 0 318 7
Career total 404 10 36 0 25 0 80 2 14 0 559 12


Statistics accurate as of match played 8 November 2009

Outside of football

Personal life

Ferdinand in 2004
Ferdinand grew up in the Friary council estate, Peckhammarker. He has several brothers and sisters: one brother and three sisters on his father's side and a brother and sister from his mother's remarriage. One of his brothers is Anton Ferdinand, the Sunderland defender, while former England striker Les Ferdinand is his cousin. On 15 March 2008, it was reported that Rio's half brother Jeremiah had been training with the United first team under the eye of Alex Ferguson. In 2006 in Manchester, Ferdinand's girlfriend Rebecca Ellison gave birth to their son Lorenz. Whilst Ferdinand was on holiday with friends and family in Las Vegasmarker in July 2007, he proposed to Ellison and she accepted. The couple had their second child, a boy named Tate, in August 2008. The names of their children stem from the name of one of the couple's favourite actors, Larenz Tate.

Television, film and music

In 2005, Ferdinand, along with an old school friend, created record label White Chalk Music. To date, there are two artists signed to the label; Melody Johnston and Nia Jai, the latter being due to release an album on 6 October which features Ferdinand rapping.

In June 2006, on the day of the England national team's opening World Cup group match against Paraguay, Ferdinand made his debut appearance as a television presenter. Hosting Rio's World Cup Wind-Ups, the England defender found himself in a Jeremy Beadle-style role, playing tricks on his fellow England World Cup squad members including Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and Gary Neville. A follow-up series went into production, entitled 'Rio's All-Star Wind-Ups'. However, it was cancelled following a number of filming problems.

He made his first foray into the world of cinema in late 2008, financing and becoming an executive producer of Alex de Rakoff's film Dead Man Running. The film features Danny Dyer and 50 Cent in a gangster-themed plot. Ferdinand will share production credits with England teammate Ashley Cole.

Ferdinand is presently filming a documentary about Peckham, aiming to persuade youngsters away from a life of crime.

On 15 January 2009, it was announced that he would be publishing his own digital magazine called Rio in February 2009, working in conjunction with digital publishing company Made Up Media Ltd. In conjunction with this, Ferdinand was guest editor of the February 2009 edition of the Observer Sport Monthly, providing interviews with people ranging from Gordon Brown to Usain Bolt.

Driving offences

Ferdinand has committed a string of driving offences and has been banned from driving on four separate occasions. In the most recent instance he was caught driving at an average speed of and fined £1,500. Most famously he was convicted of drunk driving in 1997, forcing England manager Glenn Hoddle to drop him from a World Cup qualifier that would have been his international debut.

Homophobic remark

In October 2006, Ferdinand caused controversy by calling BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles a 'faggot' live on air, just days after team-mate Paul Scholes was also in trouble for an alleged homophobic remark about him being gay with a funny hair do. Moyles jokingly asked Ferdinand: "If you had to, who would you rather go out with - Smudger [[[Alan Smith (footballer born 1980)|Alan Smith]]] or Scholesy [[[Paul Scholes]]]?". Ferdinand replied: "That is not my bag that, that is not my game, talking about going out with geezers" and when Moyles suggested he would always prefer Smith, Ferdinand declared: "You’re a faggot." He quickly apologised for what he had said, stating "I'm not homophobic".

See also



References

  1. http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/profile?id=7825&cc=5901
  2. http://dps.twiihosting.net/manutd/doc/content/doc_10_139.pdf
  3. {{cite web| url=http://www.manutd.com/default.sps?pagegid={B4CEE8FA-9A47-47BC-B069-3F7A2F35DB70}&newsid=5928153| title=Report: MU 1 (6) Chelsea 1 (5)| publisher=ManUtd.com| date=21 May 2008| accessdate=26 June 2008| author=Gemma Thompson}}
  4. Source: The Complete Book of the World Cup 2006, Cris Freddi
  5. Includes other competitive competitions, including the FA Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, FIFA Club World Cup
  6. The Sun newspaper, 15 January 2009
  7. Ferdinand, Rio (2008-02-01). The Rio Ferdinand issue. The Observer. Retrieved on 2009-02-03.


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