Rio Ferdinand names himself and two Man United stars among top five Premier League centre-backs

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has ranked his top-five centre-backs in Premier League history, listing himself as the best the division has ever seen.

Ferdinand made the admission during a special feature for BT Sport with Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk. The former United man sat down with the Dutchman to discuss a variety of topics, ranking their best Premier League defenders among them.

The former England international — who played for United between 2002 and 2014 — will go down as one of the best centre-backs to have ever graced the Premier League, with many other pundits saying as much. Throughout his United career he was faced with challenging several other famous centre-backs, including Manchester City icon Vincent Kompany and former Arsenal and England star Sol Campbell.

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However, Ferdinand chose to complete a United one-two as far as his top-five was concerned, naming fellow former defensive partner Nemanja Vidic as his second-best centre-back in Premier League history. Fellow former United defender Jaap Stam also made the cut, claiming third, with John Terry and Van Dijk also featuring in his top-five.

“I believe I was number one, seriously, I’m putting myself number one straight away, that’s how I approach everything,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “I’m going to go for Vidic second.

“He was my partner in crime. I thought he led by example, didn’t ever say much. I was a talker and an organiser, but he was an animal.

“He was the only player I saw that strikers looked at and thought ‘woah’, look at his nose. He used to head through people to win the ball, but he was actually a better footballer. He read the game really well. We had a good partnership.

Rio Ferdinand (right) and Virgil van Dijk ranked their top-five Premier League centre-backs of all-time.
Rio Ferdinand (right) and Virgil van Dijk ranked their top-five Premier League centre-backs of all-time.

“I’m going you [van Dijk] there (third), the impact you have on the team is massive, your attributes would put you right in the top tier of any of them guys. In terms of natural physical, athlete, [Jaap] Stam could be there with you in terms of that passing range.

“I think you’re a full package. Whatever is in front of you right now, you’re making it look too easy and the game seems to come very easy.

“Next I’ll go Stam, I thought this guy was a monster. I remember he used to play on the half-way line on his own and say, ‘you lot just go’.

“He was comfortable with the ball, physically ridiculous, his affect on the team was massive. If he doesn’t play in that team, they’re a different team. Everyone on there you can say if they didn’t play in their prime, their team would’ve lost it.

“For number five, I’m going for John Terry, in terms of his longevity at that club [Chelsea], what they won, body on the line, much better footballer than people give credit for and the team he played for suited him. I just feel the difference with myself and you, and with Jaap, we could’ve played in any time in any era. That’s the difference. I still think as your career isn’t finished there will be movement.”

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