“I remember Gary Neville was sat next to me and he kept touching me on the shoulder going ‘enough Rio, enough, leave it – you’re not going to win this one’.”
Rio Ferdinand has recalled his furious dressing room exchange with Alex Ferguson after Manchester United’s Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich in 2010.
Hoping to reach a third successive Champions League final, United took an early lead in the quarter-final first-leg encounter in Munich through Wayne Rooney.
However, the Bundesliga giants hit back with Franck Ribery and Ivica Olic scoring to give the Germans a slender advantage before the return leg at Old Trafford.
Alex Ferguson and Rio Ferdinand argument.
During the game, Ferdinand was incensed when Ferguson, with United leading 1-0, decided to replace Ji-sung Park with Dimitar Berbatov.
“I’ve done things and said things on the pitch and in the tunnel that Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t like and became a big problem at the time,” Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five YouTube show.
“We were winning 1-0 and he brought Berba [Dimitar Berbatov] on I think.
“I didn’t agree with the substitution and I was waving my arms going ‘what are you doing?’. So then we lost the game 2-1 and I came in the tunnel and I was going crazy.
Bayern went through on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate draw with Man United.
“I remember [Mark] van Bommel looking at me like (shocked expression). I was screaming down the tunnel going mad, kicking the walls, everything.
“I got in the changing room and I think the manager heard me, and he told one of the guys ‘shut the door’ and he just came above me and started screaming, ‘who do you think you are, don’t ever question anything that I do’.
“I was going back at him ‘you’ve gone against how you’ve told us what we’re meant to do, we get a 1-0 win away from home, we take that, bring them back to our place and you gambled, I didn’t agree with that’.
“I remember Gary Neville was sat next to me and he kept touching me on the shoulder going ‘enough Rio, enough, leave it – you’re not going to win this one’.
“I’m sitting there thinking ‘Nev, you know what I’m saying, you agree with me, now fucking back me now’, but everyone wanted me to leave it.”
Having received one hairdryer from Fergie, Ferdinand decided to visit the manager’s office the following day in the hope of extending an olive branch.
Rio Ferdinand: Alex Ferguson ‘absolutely unloaded again.’
Ferguson, however, wasn’t quite ready to forgive and forget.
“The next day, I got in early and went into the manager’s office to apologise and he absolutely unloaded again. He went crazy. ‘This ain’t the first time you’ve done this and I’m not having this’.
“I apologised because I should have picked my moment better. I didn’t agree with it but I said ‘I should have come to your office in the morning when everyone’s emotions were a bit calmer’.”
Man United went on to win the second leg 3-2 with Bayern going through on away goals.
Rio Ferdinand: Alex Ferguson wanted to improve the team.
While the Red Devils boss was furious with Ferdinand, the former centre-half believes Ferguson knew he was coming from the right place: a desire to improve the team.
“I think deep down he knew I wasn’t coming at these things from an ego point of view, it was all about the good of the team,” said Ferdinand.
“I think anyone who has ever shared a dressing room with me will say I’m a terrible loser and I moaned about everything.
“But I moaned because I wanted the group to be better and I think that was my only saving grace with him. If he thought it was just me trying to flex my muscles and be egotistical, he’d have got me out of the door immediately.”
You can watch Ferdinand recalling his row with Ferguson from 33:32 in the video below: