Sometimes football fans think that players become blasé by success. Not Rio Ferdinand. Clutching the FIFA Club World Cup trophy after emerging from the boisterous Manchester United dressing room following their 1-0 success over Liga de Quito in the final of Japan 2008, the defender was all smiles - and for good reason.
The Red Devils' Premier League title success in the 2006/7 season enabled them to qualify for the 2007/8 UEFA Champions League, which they duly won. That booked them a berth at this year's FIFA Club World Cup - and after collecting another league championship winners' medal in England at the end of the 2007/8 season, it has been a successful period for the Londoner.
The joy that Ferdinand is experiencing at the moment, he explained, is almost childlike, especially as United have made history in becoming the first British club to be crowned as FIFA Club World Cup winners.
"Without question, this has been my greatest year as a professional footballer," he told FIFA.com. "To win the Champions League, the Premier League and now the FIFA Club World Cup is something very special. It's beyond the wildest dreams I had as a kid. Now we want to keep on winning. It felt great as a kid when I won things in school and it feels the same now. I am living my dreams with Manchester United and England.
"Not many people can say that they've been world champions. We are the first British team to do it, so it is great to be a part of that. We have worked very hard over the past two years for this, so hopefully this can be the catalyst for another successful season. We haven't started the year as well as we would have liked, so I hope this can be the kick-start that we need.
"It is great to achieve what we have done in the 50th anniversary since the Munich disaster and we are also happy to make history ourselves. Three major titles is something to be immensely proud of - and to do that in the space of 12 months is incredible."
Ferdinand was full of praise for his club and international team-mate Wayne Rooney who proved to be the matchwinner against Liga de Quito. As well as netting the crucial goal, the former Everton striker also finished as the tournament's leading scorer and picked up the adidas Golden Ball and the TOYOTA award as Japan 2008's best player.
"He is capable of being the best striker in the world and I think during this tournament he has shown glimpses of why that is," said Ferdinand. "I believe that - and I said that before we came here. The manager also reiterated what I said, as have other players. We all know what he can do - he just needs to build on his performances and achievements here, because they were those of a top-class player."
The 30-year-old defender also spoke to FIFA.com ahead of the tournament and mentioned how much he was looking forward to returning to Japan, which held fond memories for the England star of the 2002 FIFA World Cup™, as well as pre-season trips with Manchester United.
Now Ferdinand can cherish another memory of Japan - as he was named captain for the day in the absence of Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs from the United starting line-up - and, as a result, it was he who lifted the FIFA Club World Cup trophy.
"It was an honour to receive it, but it was a bonus as I am not the club captain," he continued. "As long as I am coming out with medals, it makes no difference if I am captain or not - I just want to win.
"The tournament has been very well organised which is what you'd expect of FIFA and Japan," he continued. "We have been here numerous times before and we always enjoy it. We are always well treated here and well received and this has been no exception. The fans have been brilliant - not only the Japanese fans, but also those who have made the trip from England."