After a shaky start upon his arrival in English football in January of 2006, big Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic quickly became a huge fan favourite at Old Trafford and is someone whose name is mentioned in the discussion whenever someone mulls over the best United XI of all time.
That is very high praise, but the fact is that although he undeniably struggled to contain Fernando Torres on more than one occasion, 'Vida' was an absolute warrior on the pitch who put the team first regardless of what ramifications it had for his body, and was an outstanding player for the majority of his United career with the peak being a 2008 Champions League win build on the foundations of his partnership with Rio Ferdinand.
Hailed as one of Fergie's best ever signings, Vidic was a complete unknown for fans of the club when he was plucked from Russian football and handed the #15 shirt at Manchester United, but he could very easily have joined the club's bitter rivals Liverpool had it not been for the urgency of Alex Ferguson in getting the deal done.
Speaking to FourFourTwo, Vidic explained that Liverpool had tried to sign him before Manchester United had ever declared their interest.
Yes. Rafa Benitez called me and I nearly went there. I was interested in going but my English wasn’t good and I was struggling to communicate.
Then Manchester United came. Fergie called me at my apartment and said: ‘I watched you play for Serbia against France - I want you here’. United were decisive. Everything was done very quickly, within two days.
Every Manchester United just shuddered at the thought.
The news isn't likely to upset too may Liverpool fans, as a tendency to remind everyone at how badly Vidic performed against Fernando Torres seems clear anytime the Serbian is mentioned.
The quote is an extract from the September issue of 'Four Four Two' due out soon, and it should give an interesting insight into how things ended at United, which Vidic heading for Italy to endure somewhat of a nightmare after things went pear-shaped under David Moyes.
One thing is clear, however, and that is that Vidic still loves Manchester United, and he even put himself in the hat for the manager's job in the future if he can get a job on the coaching staff first (hint hint, nudge nudge):
I would like to be a manager, but only if I had the opportunity first to be a coach and learn from someone for maybe one or two years. I would take the experiences I had of the managers I’ve worked under. Nemanja the manager won’t be the same Nemanja that you saw on the pitch. They are two completely different roles.
That last part is probably for the best, as his man-management would be terrifying otherwise.