Rio Ferdinand has revealed he still harbours hope of becoming captain of Manchester United despite the controversies that had appeared to damage to his chances under Sir Alex Ferguson.
The England international was once a leading choice of the United manager to replace Roy Keane as club captain, only for a missed drug test and, more pertinently at Old Trafford, an arduous contract dispute plus a meeting with Chelsea's chief executive, Peter Kenyon, to send him down the pecking order.
Ferdinand was barely mentioned as Ferguson looked to his pool of established players for Keane's successor last season before opting for Gary Neville. Yet, despite that, the 27-year-old insists his ambition remains undiminished. "It is the manager's decision and Gary was a more than worthy candidate who was also in the reckoning for the England captaincy," he said. "But like any other player I want to be captain of my club. I'd love to be captain of Manchester United but right now it is Gary Neville and I am more than happy with that."
Ferdinand was speaking at the launch of his autobiography - Rio: My Story - which, while originally planned to profit from a post-World Cup euphoria that never materialised, aims to build bridges with the United faithful following the contract row, and the missed drugs test that resulted in an eight-month suspension from the game.
"One of the reasons for doing the book was the issue of the drugs test," explained Ferdinand. "It is still raw in people's minds and obviously it is very important to me. I don't want a slur on my name over drugs forever and while I'm sure some people won't change their opinions I hope others will be more open-minded. I have never asked for forgiveness and it was my fault for missing the test but I still think it [the punishment] could have panned out very differently."
Ferdinand says he would consider his time at Uniteda failure unless he adds to the one Premiership title and League Cup medal won since his £29.1m move from Leeds in 2002. "I couldn't be happier in my life than I am now," he said. "But you play football to win and we haven't done that enough since I came to United."Reuse content