About some time ago, Nemanja Vidic signaled the end of his career. Vidic decided to do this after two injury plagued seasons at Inter Milan. The question is, was Vidic the greatest Manchester United defender?
“Vidic played eight years for United”
Manchester United is currently in 5th position, some 10 points adrift from 1st place. When Vidic used to play for Untied, this practically never happened (except in his last season at the club). This just shows you how far has United fallen since Ferguson has left his post.
“Vidic played in 300 games overall for United”
Nemanja Vidic, a tall, bulky Serbian player, arrived at Manchester United in January of 2006. This was a lucky signing, because Fiorentina had already signed the player. Complications in the transfer allowed United to “steal” the player, and made one of the best transfers ever. Vidic was signed for only £7 million.
“Vidic scored 21 goals in his stay at United”
No one really expected much from him. Rio Ferdinand himself has said that United players thought that Vidic is going to flop. At first, it looked like Vidic is going to be a flop. He barely featured in the rest of that season, but things changed in the following season.
“Vidic had 45 clean sheet percentage at United”
Rio Ferdinand was the most expensive center back Manchester United bought. He was bought in 2002 for incredible £30 million. Ferdinand was tall, quick, and highly technical player. He was quite atypical for English football. At the time, Ferdinand was considered the best defender in England, and United were looking to add a perfect partner to complement Ferdinand in defense.
“Vidic had 68 win percentage at United”
United looked for that “perfect partner” for four years, until Vidic came along in 2006. Vidic, and Ferdinand were quite different defenders. Ferdinand had more style, while Vidic had the brute force. Ferdinand usually kept the ball in play, while under pressure, while Vidic was just the opposite, kicking the ball out of play in every chance he got.
“Vidic helped set the record of 14 successive clean sheets in the Premier League”
Ferdinand, and Vidic formed formidable partnership that won five Premier League titles, three league cups, and one Champions League. One would argue that United won those titles due to their attacking power, with Ronaldo, Rooney, Berbatov and Tevez. Well, every team builds its strength from defense upwards, and United defense (especially Ferdinand and Vidic) was crucial for United winning trophies.
“Vidic was twice chosen as the Premier League player of the season”
Although Vidic had the biggest win percentage at United (68 percent), and was integral for the record of that 14 successive clean sheets in Premier League, its very hard to pinpoint Vidic as the best defender United ever had.
“Vidic and Ferdinand conceded only 22 goals in 2007/2008 season”
There were a lot of defenders that were similarly effective (Jaap Stam, Steve Bruce) in United history. I do however believe that Vidic formed the best ever defensive partnership with Ferdinand. That partnership wasn’t just the best ever United partnership, but also the best ever Premier League partnership, and definitely one of the best in European football, ever!
“Vidic effectively replaced Roy Keane as United captain”
Both Ferdinand, and Vidic are retired now. They have became part of the footballing history. They have both became a remainder of former glory for United fans. A glory that United will not experience anytime soon.
To sum up, its hard to say that Nemanja Vidic is the best ever Manchester United defender, but partnership with Rio Ferdinand was definitely the best ever. They were both crucial for Ferguson’s last success at United, and are a remainder of how low has United fallen in recent years!