‘I wish I retired at Man Utd – I joined relegation team where players just cared about money’


Rio Ferdinand expressed his desire to have finished his playing career with Manchester United.

When the 35-year-old Red Devils great was unable to sign a new contract in 2014, it marked the end of an incredible 12-year trophy-filled tenure at Old Trafford. Ever the competitor, Ferdinand felt he had played his share of games and chose to join QPR to work under former manager Harry Redknapp.

However, their reunion swiftly devolved into a horror. With Ferdinand playing just 12 games throughout the season before abruptly hanging up his boots, the Rs were a complete mess both on and off the field and finished bottom of the Premier League.

Speaking on the Stick To Football podcast, the 45-year-old says he regrets the move, claiming a number of his QPR team-mates were more interested in making money than winning games.

“I wish I finished my career at Manchester United, rather than moving to QPR, because it was the first time I had been in a changing room where people were talking about money and wages,” Ferdinand said. “You’d hear murmurings of players talking about it and I found it mad.

“We had players not wanting to train because they were on a certain amount of money, the intensity wasn’t that high, and for whatever Harry Redknapp was trying to do, the players weren’t buying into it, and that team ended up getting relegated.”

‌Ferdinand said injuries had been blighting him for years by the time he moved to Loftus Road and even claimed he had to walk around with a cushion strapped to his waist to ease his chronic back pain.

“I was getting injuries before I joined QPR, but I did genuinely think that I would be fine and that I’d be able to get through it. I spoke with Harry Redknapp, who was QPR manager at the time, who said that he’d manage my minutes, that I didn’t need to train every day, and just make sure I was ready for every match, and I thought that I could do that easily, but that wasn’t the case.

‌”Even when I was at Manchester United, I’d walk into the training ground on a Monday morning after a weekend game, and I’d be bent over in pain, and I would have to take tablets every day – I always had a bad back!

‌”I had to change everything to try and fix my back. I used to walk around with a cushion, so whenever I sat down, I had the cushion to make sure my back posture was correct.”

Even with the depressing trombone sound of his career coming to an end, Ferdinand’s 20 years playing English football are among the best. He began his career at West Ham before setting a British transfer record when he moved to Leeds in 2000. Two years later, he achieved the same when he was acquired by United.

For more than ten years, he spearheaded Sir Alex Ferguson’s defense there, winning the Champions League, two League Cups, and six Premier League championships. In 81 games, he scored three goals for England.

 

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