An England international since 1997, Rio Ferdinand has never participated at the UEFA European Championship finals and will be eager to rectify that in 2012 – especially as he was ruled out of the 2010 FIFA World Cup at the eleventh hour through injury. When fit, the Manchester United FC defender remains a centre-back of the highest class.
• Became the youngest defender to play for England when, aged 19 years, eight days, he made his debut against Cameroon in November 1997; an unused squad member at the 1998 World Cup, he benefited from the experience by performing peerlessly at the 2002 and 2006 finals.
• His classy, confident displays for West Ham United FC led to a transfer to Leeds United AFC – for a record British transfer fee in 2000; reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in his first season with the Yorkshire club.
• Sold for another British record transfer fee − then €47m − to Manchester United in July 2002; won the Premier League title in his first season but was handed an eight-month ban in December 2003, which ruled him out of UEFA EURO 2004, for missing a doping test.
• Standing in for the injured Gary Neville, he captained United to Premier League/UEFA Champions League double in 2007/08; performed consistently during United's 2008/09 title-winning campaign but was denied a second double in as many seasons when the Red Devils lost to FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League final in Rome.
• Suffered from back, hamstring and groin problems during an injury-affected 2009/10 season in which he was restricted to only 13 league appearances, but featured in half of the games the following campaign as United won a record 19th English title.
UEFA Champions League: winner 2008, runner-up 2009, 2011
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