From a ballet dancer to one of the greatest defenders of his time; Happy birthday Rio Ferdinand!


England great and Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand turns 40 today, and through all the ups and downs in this fabulous, exciting and breath-taking journey of his, on which we’ve certainly had our own fair share of moments, the Englishman surely has come a long, long way. 

Born on 7th November, 1978 in Camberwell, England and later moved to Peckham, Ferdinand was an able kid taking an interest in maths in school. A scholarship to attend the Central School of Ballet in London and previous stints in drama and theatre showcased his will to perform in front of a crowd. Soon, exposure to football in his early years and his skills with the ball, earned him spots in numerous local youth teams eventually leading him to joining the ranks of West Ham United. His first team debut came in 1996, aged 17, with whom he stayed for 5 years, appearing 127 times and netting a couple of times for the Hammers.

The following year he made his debut for the senior England team. Making 81 appearances in total, he also captained the Three Lions on many occasions.

Following an £18 million record transfer deal in 2000 to Leeds, and their financial problems leading to his departure to Manchester United for another record £30 million deal, just a couple of seasons later, Ferdinand established himself as one of the most prized, expensive and exquisite defenders in England over the course of 12 years he spent in Manchester, winning six Premier League titles, three League Cups, 1 European Cup and 1 World Club Cup, again captaining the side on many occasions

After his contract expired in 2014, he subsequently joined Queens Park Rangers where he played for just one season before being released from the club as a result of their relegation from the Premier League. He announced his retirement from professional football on 30 May 2015.

Here’s wishing one of the true great defenders a very happy birthday.

Watch below some of his best moments at Manchester United.