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Rio Ferdinand Biography

Rio Ferdinand is a Manchester United and an England international football player. He usually plays as a centre back, though he has played football in midfield for short spells. He is one of the best centre backs in football, who possesses high quality ball-playing skills in addition to the usual traits of an experienced, brilliant defender.

Ferdinand signed as a schoolboy for West Ham United in 1992 and became a professional player under their youth system and showed immense promise, and was likened to the late Bobby Moore, the former West Ham and England captain. He made his first team debut on 5 May 1996 as a substitute in 1-1 home draw against Sheffield Wednesday. Ferdinand earned his full England cap as a substitute in a friendly against Cameroon on 15 November 1997. He played for his country at the 1998 and 2002 World Cup, and as of 14 November 2005 he has 44 caps.

He joined FA Premier League football club Leeds United on November 2000 for £18 million, then a British record. In August 2001, he became the captain of Leeds.

Ferdinand fulfilled his promise as a world-class defender during the 2002 World Cup, where his partnership with Sol Campbell boasted the stingiest defence during the tournament and he was immediately hailed as the finished product as a result for his confident marshalling of the English defence. On 22 July 2002, Ferdinand joined another Premier League club, Manchester United, on five year deal to become the most expensive British footballer in history, and the world's most expensive defender.

In 2003 he failed to attend a drugs test, claiming he had forgotten because he was preoccupied with moving house. The FA imposed an eight month ban from January 2004 at club and international level, meaning he would miss the rest of the league season and some of the next along with all of Euro 2004. Manchester United's appeals to have the ban reduced were turned down. John Terry replaced him in the England side until his return on 9 October 2004 in their World Cup qualifier against Wales.

Ferdinand went on to win the Premier League championship with Manchester United in his first season. He has also collected runners-up medals in the League Cup (2003) and the FA Cup (2005). England Manager Sven-Göran Eriksson recently labelled him as "lazy" during the infamous "fake sheikh" scandal.

Before December 14, 2005, he had never scored a goal for United, despite Rio coming up for nearly every corner kick and attacking free-kick. It was only against Wigan Athletic, where he finally scored, en-route to a 4-0 victory over their opponents. Most recently Ferdiand scored a last-minute winner against arch-rivals Liverpool and affirmed his popular status with Manchester United fans.