On this day in 2000 Rio Ferdinand joined Leeds United for record £18million fee

Rio Ferdinand joined Leeds United on this dayRio Ferdinand joined Leeds United on this day
Rio Ferdinand joined Leeds United on this day
On this day in 2000, Rio Ferdinand became the world’s most expensive defender after West Ham accepted an £18million offer from Leeds

The deal shattered the previous world best of £13million paid by Roma for Argentina international Walter Samuel and was also a British record, usurping the £15million paid for Alan Shearer and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Ferdinand’s move was not actually rubber-stamped until a few days later, with the 22-year-old signing a five-and-a-half year contract, and he was paraded in front of the Leeds fans before their home game against Arsenal on November 26.

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His debut came on December 2 away at Leicester and it was one to forget as David O’Leary’s team found themselves 3-0 down after just half-an-hour, eventually losing 3-1.

It was the first of 53 Premier League appearances Ferdinand made during his 18 months at Elland Road before making another high profile move to Manchester United in the summer of 2002.

It was at Old Trafford where Ferdinand would really establish himself as one of the world’s best. The £30million fee paid by the Red Devils saw him become Britain’s most expensive player for the second time.

Centre-back Ferdinand joined Leeds for a British record fee of £18m from West Ham United in November 2000 but the defender then signed for Manchester United for a new British record fee of £30m in July 2002.

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Ferdinand went on to play the full 90 minutes of two 1-1 draws for Leeds United against the Red Devils - at Old Trafford and Elland Road - but the former defender says the extremity of the rivalry between the two clubs only became fully clear after completing his move across the Pennines.

Speaking to Radio 5 Live's 606 Savage Social hosted by Robbie Savage, Ferdinand was asked how he handled the emotions of a tricky transfer between the Whites and the Red Devils and said: "I didn't see it like that.

"I didn't understand or know the extent of the rivalry between the two clubs until I signed.

"Until I signed for Man United, I didn't realise at all.

"My whole mindset was strictly 'I want to play for Man United because that's the place where I believe I have got a chance of winning trophies.'

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"Then I signed and it was like lighting a bonfire really, it just went off. It was crazy.

"The police in Yorkshire rang me and just said 'don't come back for a while' and stuff like that because it was crazy.

"I didn't realise it was such a heated rivalry if I'm honest.

Ferdinand - who quickly became skipper at Leeds - was also asked which United players he had learned the most from during his short time at Elland Road with Ferdinand left taken aback by the way Lucas Radebe handed over the captaincy to him.

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“I think the humbleness of someone like Lucas Radebe was really important,” said the 41-year-old former England captain.

“I came in and within three months I was given the armband that he had held and done ever so well with before.

“The way it was handed over to me was a bit embarrassing for me and I thought maybe a bit soon.

“The manager saw it was the right decision and the way he (Radebe) just took it - There was a calmness and respectfulness and just the humble way that this guy was; always with a smile.

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"That's something I did take away from him definitely, especially becoming a captain.”

Ferdinand won 10 major trophies with Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, including six Premier League titles and a Champions League.

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