Manchester United legend, Rio Ferdinand has become the latest player to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.
The former center-back – who played for West Ham, Leeds United, and QPR in his career, was selected after a vote by fans across the world from a 15-person shortlist.
Ferdinand becomes the 17th player to join the Hall of Fame after eight legendary stars were inducted in both 2021 and 2022.
He joins Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger in the ‘Class of 2023’, with the two Premier League icons the first managers to be inducted.
Ferdinand is one of the greatest top-flight defenders of all time, winning six Premier League titles and racking up 504 appearances.
After breaking through at West Ham where he made his debut aged 17, he became the world’s most expensive defender when he joined Leeds in 2000 for £18m.
He later broke his own record two years later when he moved to Manchester United for £30m. On both occasions, he also broke the British transfer record.
After ending his 12-year spell at Old Trafford in 2014, he finished his career with a season at QPR.
Ferdinand – who also won 81 caps for England – has since gone on to become one of the most prominent pundits in the game.
Reflecting on his achievement, a delighted Ferdinand told the Premier League: ‘As a defender, I’m not used to celebrating personal glory – we leave that to the midfielders and strikers!
‘When you start your career, you never dream of how well things could turn out.
‘I remember all those long journeys on trains and tubes; all the training, cleaning players’ boots and taking care of the kit.
‘I remember going back to my estate and seeing my friends who were all desperate to know what it was like.’
Looking back at his legacy as one of the most graceful defenders of the modern era, Ferdinand added: ‘The only thing I can think of, without patting myself on the back too much, would be the way I played my position which was probably something that set me apart.
‘At that time, a centre-half who’s comfortable running out with the ball and taking the ball under pressure, wasn’t really what the position’s identity was about but that was my identity.
‘You look at the players now, that’s a massive part of the way young centre-backs play because those are the demands put on players. I’d love to have played today!’
He continued: ‘It’s a great feeling to be recognised by my peers as well as the fans.
‘To be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame alongside such a high calibre of players and managers is a tip of the cap to say the career is what you wanted and what you dreamed of as a kid. To be able to say that I achieved my dream is special.
‘The Premier League is the holy grail, and I just can’t believe I made it.’