It’s not often you get to meet your heroes and on the rare occurrence that you do it can often lead to disappointment, but not for one Manchester United fan who once had the pleasure of meeting legend Nemanja Vidic on a plane – and he didn’t disappoint.
Vidic joined United on January 5, 2006, as a little known 24-year-old and over the course of 11-and-a-half-years he would go on to win five Premier Leagues, three League Cups, the Champions League and become captain of the club.
Fans loved Vidic because of his warrior like approach to defending and alongside Rio Ferdinand he formed one of the best defensive partnerships the Premier League has ever seen.
But it wasn’t just Vidic’s on field exploits that stood him apart of a true United great, but his actions off the pitch as well.
Former Internazionale, Manchester United and Serbia defender Nemanja Vidic has announced his retirement from football because of injury, it’s been confirmed.
Manchester United took to Twitter to thank Vidic for his contributions to the club, having made 300 appearances for United. He earned 56 international caps.
The official Manchester United website also provided a statement from the former Red Devils centre-back, who decided to hang up his boots at the age of 34:
The time has come for me to hang up my boots. The injuries I have had in the last few years have taken their toll. I would like to thank all the players I have played with, all the managers and staff I have worked with, and say a big ‘thank you’ to the fans for their support over the years.
Vidic won five Premier League titles, a Champions League crown, the FIFA Club World Cup and more with United, with whom he stayed for eight years after arriving from Spartak Moscow in 2006.
The defender’s last club was Inter, whom he left earlier in January after failing to establish himself under Nerazzurri boss Roberto Mancini. Vidic played in 28 matches for Inter during his first season at the San Siro, but after having surgery on a hernia in August, he failed to make another appearance for the club.
The ex-Manchester United captain left Old Trafford in 2014 alongside long-term centre-back partner Rio Ferdinand, departures from which one might say the club are yet to recover.
Vidic began his professional career with Red Star Belgrade in his native Serbia, climbing the ranks in eastern Europe before making the switch to England in 2006.
There, he cemented his status as one of the best defenders in Europe, and many Manchester United fans will appreciate it’s no coincidence his time at the club fell in line with one of its most prolific eras.