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Rio Ferdinand was asking David Gill about new signings hours after Man United won the UCL

Give Me Sport logo Give Me Sport 08/04/2021 Sam Brookes
John O'Shea, Ryan Giggs posing for the camera: Rio Ferdinand with Champions League trophy © GiveMeSport Rio Ferdinand with Champions League trophy

Rio Ferdinand has revealed that he asked Manchester United's chief executive David Gill about transfers within a couple of hours of the side winning the Champions League final in 2008.

The Red Devils edged past Chelsea in an all-English final that year after a dramatic penalty-shootout victory.

United had been within a single penalty of defeat, only for Chelsea captain John Terry to slip and miss his spot-kick. It was then left to Edwin van der Sar to seize the moment, as he saved Nicolas Anelka's effort to hand United just the third European Cup in their history.

Most players would have celebrated long into the evening, but Ferdinand claims that his reaction to the win was different.

Speaking on the High Performance Podcast - which GIVEMESPORT has an exclusive partnership with - he said: "I've never sat and dwelled on stuff that I've won in that moment. I think I was always fearful of doing that because I thought if I do that my eye's been taken off what's coming down the road.

"Probably a good indicator of how intense that was, was when we won the Champions League in Moscow. After you win the Champions League, you get changed and you go to the hotel where there's a party or a little gathering for the families and the friends and all the players and staff.

"And within the first 15-20 minutes I was so ecstatic. 'David Gill', I said: 'Mr Gill, how are you doing?' 'Rio, brilliant. How are you doing, Rio?' I said: 'Right, so who're we buying next year? Who're we getting?' He said: 'What do you mean?'"

When asked how long after the final this was, Ferdinand replied: "A couple of hours. He said: 'Are you crazy, lad? Just enjoy the night.' I said: 'Yeah, but who're we getting? We've gotta win this next year. I want to be here next year again.' And so that's just always the way I was."

This gives a stunning insight into the mindset that Ferdinand possessed as a player. On the night of arguably his greatest sporting achievement, he was already looking ahead to what was next, and how the team could improve. 

While that even caught Gill off-guard as he enquired into Ferdinand's state of mind, this admission of always striving for more indicates why United were so successful during this period. They had just won back-to-back Premier League titles, and were now the champions of Europe, but Ferdinand believed that they still needed to get better.

Rio Ferdinand holding an umbrella © Provided by Give Me Sport

The following year, Ferdinand nearly got his wish. Sir Alex Ferguson's men did make the final once more, only this time they came up short against Barcelona in Rome.

They completed a domestic double that season, winning the league again and the League Cup by seeing off Tottenham in the final.

Still, given what Ferdinand has said, it seems likely that he would have regarded that campaign as a failure as United lost their European crown.

Over a decade later, and how times have changed at Old Trafford. The team were knocked out of the Champions League before Christmas, and the Europa League now represents their only realistic chance of silverware this year.

The side need to rediscover their winning mentality, and the club's supporters will hope that Ferdinand's anecdote could inspire the current crop of players to do just that.

For more incredibly insightful interviews with elite sportsmen, women and entrepreneurs, make sure you subscribe to the High Performance Podcast on iTunes.

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