Ferdinand: I want to end on a high
Rio Ferdinand is approaching his tenth anniversary as a Manchester United player more hungry than ever to collect some silverware.
When Ferdinand walked through the doors of Old Trafford after joining for a then British record £29.1million fee in 2002, he said his time at United would be measured by trophies.
His haul is pretty impressive. He has won the FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Champions League, two League Cups and a sixth Premier League title is seemingly on its way, with United eight points clear. Yet the 33-year-old is not satisfied.
It is not just the ones that got away which rankle, it's the knowledge that at some point in the not-too-distant future, his career will come to an end. And the worst thing Ferdinand can imagine is to finish as a loser.
"There are not many players who leave this club doing exactly what they want to do," he said ahead of tomorrow night's trip to Wigan.
"It wouldn't be good finishing your career with a loss, or by not winning something," he said. "The losses now do my head in. To think I wouldn't be able to rectify it the season after because I had retired or left would rankle.
"I am not thinking about retirement. I am trying to play as long as I can. I have another year after this and I want to do another ten. But whenever it is, I would want to go out on a high note."
It has long been suggested Ferdinand could end his playing days in Major League Soccer. More recently, the growing impact of the Chinese League has been said to hold an allure.
Sir Alex Ferguson still believes Ferdinand has a significant role to play as an elder statesman at United though.
It may come as a surprise to some that the Londoner could end up being bracketed with Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, whose local connections forge a more obvious bond with the Red Devils.
Having already been at West Ham and Leeds, a decade ago, Old Trafford seemed like just another stepping stone for the most stylish England defender of his generation. Ferdinand insists that was never his intention.
"My association with the club will be there forever," he said."Moving on was never in my mind. That first press conference, when I walked through the doors of the club, seeing the manager, seeing the pictures of all the old players, I grasped it straightaway.
"I wanted to be part of the history of this club and to do that I have to stay here for a good amount of time. I achieved that and hopefully I have a few more chapters. But when I do eventually hang my boots up, I have great memories to take away.
"The manager said the other day that not many players play for one club for 10 years any more. It doesn't happen. To do it at a club like Manchester United that are fighting for league titles and different trophies every year, is good."
Ferdinand is anxious to stress he is not dwelling on past glories, how can he when there is so much more to achieve. Giggs has already stated he would regard this Premier League title as one of the most significant given the challenges United have had to overcome.
Wigan would appear to be one of the least formidable obstacles to United gathering the 11 remaining points they may require to end Manchester City's remaining hopes.
The Latics have not claimed so much as a draw from 14 previous meetings with United and the aggregate score from the last five games between the north-west neighbours is a staggering 21-0.
However, Ferdinand has been around long enough to know nothing can be taken for granted, which is one of the values of experience he hopes has rubbed off on the younger members of United's squad.
"It is the little things you pick up on," he said. "In my first season, towards the end, we drew a game and I was a little bit depressed because it was two points lost in a game we were expected to win. Gary Neville was sat nearby and his attitude was that could be the point that wins the league, which turned out to be the case.
"It gets you out of being in a slump and a depressed mood. You look at things from a different angle. Younger players watch the older ones. If we start panicking, so will they. We just have to remain calm and continue playing the way we do all the time."