Ferdinand has admitted that he hated the Manchester United players who would not put in the kind of effort expected to succeed at the club.
Throughout his 12 years with Man United, Rio Ferdinand developed into one of the many leaders at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
At the heart of the Red Devils defence, Ferdinand won six Premier Leagues and a Champions League with many of the most memorable moments taking place alongside Nemanja Vidic.
Ferdinand was a guest on the High Performance Podcast and revealed how United enjoyed such a successful spell during that period.
Rio Ferdinand on the Man United players he did not like.
The former England international identified high training standards, work ethic and a hunger to win as three behaviours that defined the culture of United while he was there.
When asked by host Jake Humphrey what would happen to players who signed for United but didn’t display the desire required, Ferdinand didn’t hold back.
“Gone! Get out! I hated them,” Ferdinand said.
“I hated them with a passion. I want to win and you’re going to affect me winning.
“I know there are players out there who would say ‘Rio just used to drill me all the time and picked on me a little bit.’
“But I knew you weren’t right for this place and I would either humour you out of the place – in terms of making you feel like you shouldn’t be here or you’d better up your game if you’re going to stay here – or I would be on you.”
Ferdinand did not specifically name any players that he would say he hated but he did discuss an incident involving striker Dimitar Berbatov, who was known as quite a languid player despite his unquestionable skill.
Ferdinand on Berbatov.
Ferdinand revealed how he ended up in a shouting match with Berbatov for taking his time in a training drill.
“Berbatov was a good example and he had a fair amount of success at Man United when he came but he probably could have done more,” Ferdinand said.
“Especially at the beginning, I remember a training session had to be stopped – before the Champions League final, I think it was – and he didn’t come across the pitch.
“I had the ball on one side and he was on the other side of the pitch, he’s our centre-forward by the way and he’s almost on the left-wing.
“So I’ve got the ball and I’m waiting for him to come to help me so I can pass the ball to him or pass it up the pitch because we were being marked out of the game deliberately as part of the training session, so to play over the press.
“He’s still over there and I’m screaming. I kick the ball off the pitch and I’m going mad, screaming ‘Get over here!’
‘We’re not Barcelona! This is Man United. We are different.”
“He was typical Berba, relaxed, and said ‘Just wait. Wait until I get over there. Play around until I get there and then we can play.’
“I was going mad and then he said, ‘Barcelona will just keep it and play and wait until the players come over.’
“I said, ‘We’re not Barcelona! This is Man United. We are different. If you want to do that Barcelona stuff then go to Barcelona. We play a way that you’re meant to change to play towards. We’re not changing to play your game. You change to play like Man United.’
“And I don’t think that culture is there now.”
To watch the full Rio Ferdinand episode of The High Performance Podcast, click here.
(Originally published on September 16, 2020).