‘I Almost Left Man United For Barcelona’ – Rio Ferdinand Shares Old Trafford Memories
The Red Devils legend was almost tempted to the Camp Nou however determined to remain at the Theatre of Dreams.
Manchester United icon Rio Ferdinand has revealed he “came close” to securing a move to Barcelona whilst at the height of his powers at Old Trafford.
The star central defender was a rock in the Red Devils defence at some point of a trophy-laden 12-year profession in Manchester – lifting the Premier League on six occasions and clinching a Champions League title.
But Ferdinand’s stint at the Theatre of Dreams was almost cut brief when Barcelona and Frank Rijkaard came calling during the club’s European triumph in 2008.
When asked about his links to Barcelona on BT Sport, Ferdinand said: “It came close. There have been discussions with my agent, Barca had touched base. I’d spoken to Riijkard, not about going there however he made his feelings known.
“It was absolutely after the game in Barcelona where we drew 0-0, in the tunnel after the game I spoke to him.
“The problem with me going abroad, I always said I definitely wanted to go overseas and play, however the only thing that would ever have stopped me was if I was successful on home shores and I was fortunate and lucky to find a great club in Manchester United the place it was going to be almost not possible for me to leave.
“We beat them and went on to grow to be European champions, so why would I depart the European champions to go to another team in transition.
“At that point Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, they weren’t the players they were three or 4 years later so it was a very one-of-a-kind landscape at that time in Barcelona.”
Barcelona brushed aside Rijkaard prior to the 2008-09 season, appointing Pep Guardiola – who guided the Catalans to a 2-0 Champions League final victory over Man Utd in his first season at the club.
The Red Devils were additionally defeated by Guardiola’s Barca 3-1 in the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley.
Ferdinand made 455 appearances for Man Utd, scoring eight goals before departing for a final season at Queens Park Rangers in 2014-15.
In a recent Q&A on Instagram, Ferdinand insisted the Red Devils need to sign superstar England duo Harry Kane and Jadon Sancho to get back amongst the exceptional teams in Europe.