Monday, 7 November 2011

Time for Ferdinand to pack his bags

 
The hint could not have clearer. In front of a packed press room this week Rio Ferdinand was being told his glory days are over.

Sir Alex Ferguson, the most secretive of tacticians surprisingly laid bare a bleak future for the man often promoted as a Rolls-Royce of a defender.

Not quite a towing to the scrap yard, but not far off it.

Rio was once the first name on the team sheet. Now all he can expect is a plaque on the heated seats on United's bench.

How quickly this harsh game can turn on its actors.

Ferdinand imperious in his prime is now a mere mortal among defenders. His aura has gone along with his pace.

Injuries have taken their toll and ruthless strikers no longer cower away when his authoritative presence arrives to clear up danger in the Reds backline.

Opponents know it. But more damningly for Ferdinand is that Ferguson knows it, and refuses to let his loyalty get in the way of winning games.

Rio knew it too. Even before his boss announced it to the world. The moment Jonny Evans was picked ahead of him to face Everton last week the writing was on the wall.

Just like the Greeks, Ferdinand's credit has run out. He has been a burden for too long.

A man as smart as Rio knew that could not continue.

Age waits for no man to fulfil those unfinished ambitions. Like Bryan Robson and Brian McClair before him a younger, exciting new talent is bursting through the ranks and needs to be accommodated. In this case Phil Jones or Chris Smalling.

But Rio should now waste his final days in the game smiling from a subs seat, like Michael Owen. Waiting for the opportunity to grab at the magnificence only he refuses to accept is now part of his past.

Ferdinand still has enough in his locker to shine at a lesser club, and should view this an exciting time.

New worlds await. Maybe not trophy-laden days like he has feasted on in the past, but interesting projects anyway.

Why not head abroad? And not to the MSL graveyard. Why not test himself in La Liga marking Messi and Ronaldo or look classy in the slower paced Italian game at a giant like Ac Milan or Juventus? 


What a way to end a career. That's how it should be. Going out on top. It's what a brilliant career deserves.

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