Nemanja Vidic is a Manchester United legend and one of the greatest defenders of the Premier League era.
The Big Serbian international was renowned for his uncompromising style and would form one of the greatest centre-back partnerships English football has ever seen with fellow Old Trafford legend Rio Ferdinand.
Here are some of the best quotes about the brilliant defender …
ON THIS DAY: In 2006, Nemanja Vidić made his Man Utd debut in a 2-1 victory against Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford.
🏆 5 Premier League
🏆 5 Community Shield
🏆 3 League Cup
🏆 1 Champions League
🏆 1 Club World Cup
An absolute bargain at just £7m. 😍 pic.twitter.com/pno22uka9q
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 25, 2020
“Vida, simply the best out and out defender I’ve seen. Aggression and desire to win at all costs, scared centre forwards to death!” Michael Carrick.
“How many centre-halves can you name who actually like defending? Vidic liked it. He loved the challenge of sticking his head in there. You could tell that the thrill of contesting those 50-50 balls animated him.” Sir Alex Ferguson.
“When I think of him as a footballer, Nemanja puts his head where other players are scared to put their feet. That’s Nemanja.
At corners I’m always helping the defenders and he’s always close to me. I’ve seen him, time after time, diving with his head forward to block a ball. When I’m witnessing that, I’m scared for him. This is Nemanja. It’s unbelievable. I count him as one of my best friends.” Robin Van Persie.
”He became a defender that was feared. He could fight with the most physical, he crunched into tackles, he attacked the ball better than anyone I’ve ever seen. But as he will tell you with a smile, he could also play with the ball too, which made him complete and a great defender. Because he was so good in the aggressive/attacking the ball areas people probably looked over his ability with the ball to his annoyance!” Rio Ferdinand.
“Take it from me, Vida is one very hard lad. Sometimes you might hear criticism of foreign players who might have plenty of fancy tricks on the ball, but throw them into battle on a freezing wet February night at Bolton, or Stoke, or Blackburn, and they just don’t fancy it. Well, Vida does fancy it, no matter how tough the assignment. He relishes the physical challenge of the game, the heading, the tackling, the getting in against fearsome opponents when the chips are down. It took him a little while to settle when he arrived in Manchester, but soon he proved himself to be top quality, not only as a warrior, but also in his use of the ball. Vida is a natural for the role of captain, leading from the front.” Paul Scholes.
“Vidic was a dour, uncompromising sod. He was a proud Serb. In 2009 he came to me to say he might be getting called up.
“What do you mean, called up?’ I said, alarmed. ‘Kosovo. I am going,’ he said. ‘It’s my duty.’ He had the eyes for it.” Sir Alex Ferguson.
“Vidic has to be in [Neville’s best Man Utd team]. That’s non-negotiable. How he didn’t win Player of the Year in 2010-11 is beyond me. He was easily the most consistent, influential player in the league.” Gary Neville.
“My type of defender. Liverpool tried to buy him in January 2006 but our loss was United’s gain. I’d have loved to have played alongside him and I’m sure we could have formed a solid partnership. He loves defending and putting his head in where it hurts.” Jamie Carragher.
“Vidic was the tough man, the nastiest, like running into a rock. He could block a striker with a single finger. He walks on you, he says sorry, he kicks you, he says sorry. This guy was ready to kill.” Emmanuel Adebayor.
“It might surprise you to hear that Nemanja, who arrived from Spartak Moscow, was not the powerful centre-back he became over his years with the club. There was nothing of him when he arrived. He was skinny and relatively easy to push off the ball. He took a battering in his first few weeks at the club – in training as well as matches. Nemanja must have realised quite early on that he was not strong enough to play in the centre of defence at that time, so he did something about it. For the next year, every time I walked past the gym, I would see Nemanja in there lifting weights. He turned himself into a big, strong centre-half who was capable of knocking strikers out of the way. He always had a great ability to head the ball, but allied with his strength he became unbeatable in the air.” Paul Scholes.