Manchester United legend Nemanja Vidic has revealed that he almost signed for their arch-rivals Liverpool, in an interview with FourFourTwo.
United signed the Serbian center-back from Spartak Moscow in 2006 for a fee of around £7 million, which was quite a decent amount for a defender back then, compared to the £50 million Everton are currently demanding for any potential suitors of John Stones, or the £30m United paid Villarreal for Eric Bailly this summer.
Vidic endured a torrid first season at the club, with many writing him off as a mistake and a failure, as he struggled to cope with the pace and the physicality of the Premier League.
But he came back stronger in his second season, and proved all his doubters wrong, as he and Rio Ferdinand formed an impenetrable bond at the heart of The Red Devils’ defence. He went on to become one of the greatest defenders in Manchester United and football history, winning five Premier League titles, three league cup titles, five community shields, a Champions League and a FIFA Club World Cup.
All of that may not have been possible though, as he revealed he almost signed for Liverpool when Rafa Benitez came calling, before United stepped in and stole him from under their noses.
“Yes [I nearly joined Liverpool]. Rafa Benitez called me and I nearly went there,” Vidic told FourFourTwo.
“I was interested in going but my English wasn’t good and I was struggling to communicate.
“Then Manchester United came. Fergie called me at my apartment and said: ‘I watched you play for Serbia against France – I want you here.’ United were decisive. Everything was done very quickly, within two days.”
Injuries blighted the latter years of his United career, as the Serbian never really recovered from a knee injury suffered against Basel in the Champions League in 2011. He left the club in 2013, signing a contract with Inter Milan midway through the 2013-14 season, much to the displeasure of the Old Trafford faithful.
But his spell at Inter proved fruitless as his injury woes continued. On the 18th of January 2016, his contract with the club was terminated by mutual consent, and 11 days later, Vidic announced his retirement from professional football with immediate effect.
He is not done with the game yet though, as he plans to return to football as a manager. Vidic the manager though, will be completely different from Vidic the player.
“I would like to be a manager, but only if I had the opportunity first to be a coach and learn from someone for maybe one or two years,” he added.
“I would take the experiences I had of the managers I’ve worked under.
“Nemanja the manager won’t be the same Nemanja that you saw on the pitch. They are two completely different roles.”
Irrespective of how different he takes being a manager to being a player, the one thing that will never change is his character, his determination and his incredibly strong will to succeed.