Signing for Leeds United the best decision of my career, says Champions League winner Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand says leaving West Ham for Leeds United was the best decision he made in his distinguished career.

Rio FerdinandRio Ferdinand

Former England captain Rio Ferdinand is a busy man despite his retirement.

But despite juggling family life and working as a pundit, the former footballer has managed to write a 3,000 word plus 'letter to his younger self', for the Players' Tribune.

If you haven't read it already we really recommend you do, it's a fantastic insight into how Ferdinand viewed his career both at the time and in reflection.

Ferdinand played for five clubs in his career, beginning at West Ham - with a loan at Bournemouth, before moving to Leeds, and then joining Manchester United, later winding down at QPR.


Manchester United lift the 2008 Champions LeagueRio Ferdinand winning trophies with Manchester United 

At Manchester United he won almost everything, multiple Premier League trophies and the Champions League in 2008.

Despite Old Trafford providing him with the richest spell of his career, Ferdinand wrote that he felt joining Leeds United was the most important decision he made back in 2000.

Here's an excerpt from his letter about his time at Elland Road...

"Right now, it’s not about money or trophies. It’s not about clubs and status. It’s about getting out of London. Detaching yourself from it all. Going somewhere where you can just concentrate on being a footballer. Going somewhere that isn’t London.

"It’s about truly becoming a professional. And at Leeds, mate, you will.

"You’ll always be a London boy, but Leeds is going to be a special place for you. It’s a one-club city. And that’s really going to mean something. It’s a unique responsibility and it’s the only time you’ll experience that. More important, you’ll get your discipline back. In two years time, you will’ve become captain and help take the side to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

"Playing for Leeds will be the best decision you’ll ever make.

"And you’ll finally get your spot on a World Cup squad. Something’s going to happen at the 2002 tournament, and honestly, it wouldn’t have happened without Leeds. You’re going to become a leader and you’re going to learn."

Leeds UEFA CupLeeds in the UEFA Cup

Leeds were unable to keep Ferdinand, and his departure signified the beginning of the end for the Whites, with their other big name players later departing.

They were relegated in 2004 and have not been back to the top flight since.

While Ferdinand was lifting the Champions League trophy in 2008, Leeds were toiling in the third tier of English football.

They could certainly do with a few players of his calibre and personality if they are going to make it out of the Championship and back at last into the Premier League next season.

Rio Ferdinand at Leeds UnitedRio Ferdinand at Leeds United

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