We promised you a special 100th guest … so who better than Rio Ferdinand, a man with a Champions League, six Premier Leagues and 81 England caps under his belt. Rio was a centre-half so elegant that he could have played in midfield. Damn it, he could have played up front if he wanted.
He left Leeds to join Manchester United because he had a burning desire to win. He got his hands on the league title in his first season at Old Trafford but that merely fuelled the addiction. He wanted European glory. He wanted the Champions League.
At Leeds Rio had come close, scoring a sublime header in a quarter-final against Deportivo. But the Valencia of Juan Sánchez and John Carew taught them a lesson in the semi. At Man United they ripped Juventus to shreds but a year later Real Madrid narrowly put them out in a ding-dong 6-5 aggregate win, when Raúl stretched him like never before.
This is a brilliant 100th Big Interview.
Subscribe to Between the Lines: The Stories Behind Great Sports Writing
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.