Rio realising United ambitions
The £29.1million defender took some time to make an real impact at Old Trafford after his move from Leeds. Although his first season ended in a Premier League title, his second was scarred by that infamous missed drugs test that landed him an eight-month man. His return coincided with a fallow period for Sir Alex Ferguson's side. Since 2007 though, Ferdinand has made up for lost time. The 32-year-old will collect his fifth championship medal after Sunday's Premier League encounter with Blackpool and then, on May 28, he will appear in his third European Cup final. "When I first came to Manchester United all I thought about was making sure I etched myself a little bit within the history of the club and to do that meant winning trophies," Ferdinand told TalkSPORT. "I have been fortunate enough to be part of squads that have won trophies. You just really enjoy those moments. "To be part of a club with such great history and be part of a successful team within that history is the icing on the cake." Ferdinand puts United's latest triumph down to teamwork. Without a stellar talent such as Cristiano Ronaldo and with star man Wayne Rooney below par for much of the season, the Old Trafford outfit have forged their triumphant campaign on good old-fashioned hard work, with unsung heroes Park Ji-sung and Darren Fletcher amongst those making the biggest impact. "The resilience in this squad is what has made us stand apart," said Ferdinand. "The manager has said we maybe haven't got a Ronaldo-type player like we did before but the team ethic in this squad is phenomenal. "You have seen that over the season with various different results." There has been an infusion of new blood, with Chris Smalling amongst those excelling when Ferdinand was missing and Javier Hernandez's 20-goal contribution proving to be so valuable in the latter weeks of the season. "Javier has been phenomenal," said Ferdinand. "It is not just his goals, but his movement, his all-round work ethic, his desire to be in the right positions and work hard. "He is going to have a fantastic career, He has the mentality and the attitude for it." Once they have collected a record 19th title this weekend, minds will be fully focused on beating Barcelona in the Champions League final. Against Barcelona two years ago, United let themselves down badly. They have no intention of experiencing similar misery this time. But Ferdinand is wise enough to realise if the Red Devils are to triumph, they will do so only by shackling Lionel Messi, the man currently rated the world's best player. "Messi is one of the best players in the world," said Ferdinand. "He can hurt you anywhere on the pitch. "But it's not just going to be down to one or two people taking care of someone like him, the whole team has to do it. "They will thinking the same thing with the players we have got. We have players that can hurt you from all over the park."