How Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic reacted to winning the Champions League sums up their defensive partnership
"And I went, 'Sorry Vida'."
Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic will be remembered as one of English football's best ever defensive partnerships. They played alongside each other for Manchester United for seven and a half seasons, and won five Premier League titles, three League Cups and the Champions League in 2008.
Vidic and Ferdinand perfectly complimented each other on the pitch. The Serbian was an aggressive defender who constantly attacked the first ball, a physical presence who was brilliant in one v one situations and incredibly difficult to beat. Vidic was also a good footballer, but people inevitably remember him more for excelling at the less glamorous side of defending.
Ferdinand was a Rolls Royce of a player, lightning quick at his peak, comfortable in possession and unlike the overwhelming majority of central-defenders English football had produced. The former United and England captain was twice the most expensive defender in the world, and his game reached new heights when Vidic arrived in 2006.
The pair's partnership formed the defensive bedrock of a massively successful period for United. Vidic was the aggressor, and Ferdinand provided cover, with Edwin van der Sar behind them, Gary Neville to the right and Patrice Evra on the left, the team's rock-solid foundations allowed the creative talents of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez to flourish.
Alex Ferguson's side rose to the challenge of an all-conquering Chelsea team to achieve domestic and European glory.
The team reached its zenith in 2008 in Moscow, when they beat Chelsea on penalties to win the Champions League. The victory was poignant for the club, as it came 40 years after United's first European Cup win and 50 years after the Munich Air disaster, in which 21 people died, including eight United players.
Sir Bobby Charlton survived the plane crash and captained United a decade later at Wembley, when they beat Benfica 4-1 to win the European Cup. He was in Moscow when the club won the competition for the third time and almost made Ferdinand cry - until Vidic had a word.
The contrasting reactions of the pair to the occasion shows the difference between them, but also why they worked so well together.
On BT Sport, Jake Humphrey asked Ferdinand if Vidic 'made him cry'.
"No, it was Sir Bobby Charlton,' Rio said.
"He came down and started speaking to me about the history of the club, and what it meant to be the captain to go up the steps and pick up the trophy. He said a few nice, kind words and then I saw my family on the other side and it just hit me - my lip started going and I started to well up a little bit. I remember Vida just stood there and said, 'Rio, not here'... And I went, 'Sorry Vida, yeah' and we went up (to collect the trophy)."
Even in such an emotional moment, Vidic was no-nonsense and all business, ready to bail out his teammate from a potentially awkward situation.