Rio Ferdinand tells Rob Burrow why Leeds United followers need to appreciate context in their judgement

Former Manchester United player Rio Ferdinand expressed his surprise and confusion over ongoing criticism from some Leeds United fans for his move from Elland Road to Old Trafford over 21 years ago. The former Leeds United defender, who left the club in a £30 million transfer in the summer of 2002, addressed the lingering resentment during an interview with Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow on Burrow’s podcast, “Seven.”

Ferdinand acknowledged the intense rivalry between Leeds United and Manchester United but emphasized that fans need to appreciate the context of the club’s financial situation at the time. He explained that the club had to sell assets, and he had to leave, regardless of the destination. The former England international defended his decision to join Manchester United, citing it as the best opportunity for him to win trophies, a choice that proved successful during his time at Old Trafford.

Rio Ferdinand had to close down bar with Leeds fans threatening to “mash it  up” - Mirror Online

Reflecting on a recent experience, Ferdinand shared, “About six months to a year ago, I played a game and the Leeds away fans were just in front of me. I swear to you I was taken aback by how upset and angry they still are with me.” He expressed his inability to fully understand the rivalry as he wasn’t a local Leeds lad but emphasized the importance of considering the situation and context.

Ferdinand concluded that his decision to join Manchester United was driven by the desire to achieve success, and it ultimately proved to be the right move. The interview is part of Rob Burrow’s podcast, “Seven,” where he and his wife Lindsey interview seven sporting greats and ask them seven questions.

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