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Virgil van Dijk

'He covered my back' - Ferdinand admits he would pick prime Vidic over Van Dijk

14:10 GMT 22/03/2020
Nemanja Vidic, Virgil van Dijk
The former Red Devils centre-back says he would choose his old compatriot over the high-flying Dutchman, despite a deep affection for the latter

Rio Ferdinand has professed his "love" of Virgil van Dijk - but has admitted that he would choose his former Manchester United teammate Nemanja Vidic as his defensive partner over the Liverpool star.

Dutchman Van Dijk has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the global ranks since his arrival at Liverpool in 2018, helping the club to consecutive Champions League finals and European glory last term, while he finished as runner-up to Lionel Messi for the Ballon d'Or in December.

The Netherlands captain has been at the heart of Jurgen Klopp's side's charge for the Premier League title this season too, though their likely coronation is on hold as the game remains suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But former United star Ferdinand has revealed that Van Dijk would be second in his pecking order of centre-backs to play alongside, behind Vidic, in an Instagram Q&A this week.

"Prime Van Dijk or prime Vidic? [It's a] good question,' he stated, when asked by a fan on who he would have preferred to play alongside with, before opting for his former Red Devils compatriot.

"I've got to go with Vidic because he was my partner, man. He was my partner. He covered my back and I covered his. That was it."

Ferdinand admitted however that he would have enjoyed matching wits with the Reds talisman if the pair had played in the same era together, with the ex-England man having retired the season before Van Dijk came to the Premier League with Southampton in 2015.

"I love Van Dijk, don't get me wrong," he added. "I love him. [I think he's the] best defender in the world now, definitely. I'd love to have seen him play in our time, seen what he was about. That would have been interesting. [He's a] top player."

Ferdinand and Vidic helped form the cornerstone of United's dominant early century side, with five top-flight titles and a Champions League crown among their haul under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Van Dijk meanwhile was expected to captain his country once more at Euro 2020 later this year, though with Covid-19 containment measures still in effect across the world, the tournament has since been postponed until 2021.