Rio Five Star: The Biography
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Rio Ferdinand established himself as one of the world's top; defenders. He burst on to the pitch at the young age of seventeen, when he made his first-team debut for West Ham, playing alongside other budding talents Frank Lampard and Joe Cole. During his time with the Hammers, the young Ferdinand was honoured to be compared to 1966 World Cup hero Sir Booby Moore, and it wasn't long before he himself was picked to represent England.
His performances on the world stage transformed Ferdinand from an emerging force to a fully accomplished international football star. As his reputation soared, so too did his value on the transfer market, and in the summer of 2002 Manchester United signed him for a world-record fee for a defensive player.
The path to footballing glory hasn't always been smooth: when he was a young boy his schoolmate Stephen Lawrence was murdered, while in later years his reputation was dented by drink-driving shame and an outrageous holiday in Cyprus. And in 2004 his career faced the ultimate test – having missed a routine drugs test, Ferdinand was banned from professional football for eight months.
Yet he came back stronger than ever, becoming a defensive lynchpin at both club and international level. A crucial member of the team, Rio as a player was both controlled and calm in even the most heated of games, while his pace, organisational skills and reading of the game made him one of the strongest team players.
This searching biography, described by the Sunday Times on its publication as 'the most exciting sports biography of the year', has been fully revised and updated to take account of Ferdinand's life and career since he retired from professional football. It paints a portrait, not always uncritical, of an extraordinary footballer, but also an extraordinary man who shook up the world of sport and, in his work for charity and as an informed commentator, continues to do so. In doing so, it covers the highs and lows of an illustrious career, revealing all about Ferdinand's extraordinary talent, dedication and ambition.
back even stronger. I’m sure he’s got the character to handle the situation and recover from it.’ The club’s managing director, Peter Storrie, stated: ‘The player deeply regrets his actions. He is very young, he has made a mistake and has paid a high price.’ And Redknapp added: ‘Rio is a level-headed lad. I cannot see this hiccup taking him out of his stride. I will be very surprised if he does not emerge stronger. As with a serious injury, the way a player can face up to adversity has a lot to
‘My wife asked me the previous night if I thought he would go, and I told her I honestly didn’t know.’ Other players – such as West Ham’s England vet Stuart Pearce – told Rio they’d love him to stay, but most of them sensed he was on his way out of the door. In fact Rio already had a plane ticket to Leeds booked before he set foot in the training ground. Eventually Rio emerged from the changing rooms wearing a smart suit and carrying a black plastic bag of West Ham kit – memories, souvenirs –
Peckham would be. ‘Well done, son.’ ‘Thanks, Mum.’ The next World Cup game – against Argentina – was hyped to the hilt with all the usual emotional baggage of the 1982 Falklands War plus Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal that helped knock England out of the 1986 World Cup and David Beckham’s infamous red card in Argentina’s penalty-shootout victory at France ’98. The Argentinians had gone into the match as favourites, and were further strengthened by the fall of the holders, France, who lost
the best was still to come from the England side. ‘The team is developing well and the longer we are together, the better we play. If you look at the age of the side, a lot of players are not at their peak level yet. But we have also got people like David Beckham, Sol Campbell, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt who have been playing at the top level for years. It means we have got a really good mixture, a really good blend, and there is a lot more to come from this team. But rest assured that on Friday
thought you’d still be pleading with Capello to give you the captaincy back,’ tweeted Savage. ‘You’re not getting it. Bore off pal.’ Ferdinand laughed it off with: ‘No mate, I don’t bite… only time you got under my skin I smashed you into the tunnel wall!’ Rio had made a sizeable splash for the BBC during the World Cup coverage. The Daily Mail wrote: ‘Rio Ferdinand is not to everyone’s taste, but he speaks from a position of tremendous authority on the current game and is improving.’ In August