Liverpool fans might be surprised by Nemanja Vidic's view of Fernando Torres
Nemanja Vidic has been speaking about the toughest opponents he faced in his career.
The former Manchester United captain is one of the best defenders to have played in the Premier League. In eight and a half seasons at Old Trafford, Vidic won five Premier League titles, three League Cups and the Champions League. Along with Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Edwin van der Sar, he was a pivotal part of Alex Ferguson's defence.
In the 2007/08 season, United conceded just 22 goals on the way to winning the title and just 24 the following season. The rock-solid United defence provided the foundations which enabled the team's attacking trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez to flourish.
If you mention Vidic to a United supporter, they'll recall how important he was to Ferguson's team. The Serbian's aggressive approach went down extremely well with fans at Old Trafford, and there's no doubt he captained United with distinction during a great period for the club.
However, mention Vidic to a Liverpool fan, and they'll respond with two words: Fernando Torres. The Spanish striker famously gave Vidic a tough time in a few games between United and Liverpool back in 2009 and 2010. Vidic was sent-off in three consecutive matches against his team's bitter rivals, and Torres scored in three consecutive games against United. The Atletico Madrid striker scored in Liverpool's 4-1 win at Old Trafford in March 2009 and again the following season in a 2-0 win at Anfield.
Before injuries took their toll, and his underwhelming spell with Chelsea, Torres was one of the most dangerous strikers in the Premier League. However, despite regularly receiving a tough time from the Spanish striker, Vidic doesn't consider him to be the most difficult opponent he faced in his career.
Vidic told The Times in a very interesting interview that Torres, "was top, don't get me wrong, he'd score a goal from nowhere but [unlike the others] he’s not someone who’s going to bully you or trick you with the ball."
The former Inter Milan defender said that Sergio Aguero, Luis Suarez and Didier Drogba were the toughest opponents he faced in the Premier League.
"Aguero was good at stop-and-go, aggressive in the box. He's small but he can attack crosses, he can drop, he can go behind. Suarez can just go through you with the ball. And Drogba is tall, strong, won't ever let you relax."
Unsurprisingly, Vidic said that Lionel Messi was the most difficult opponent he faced during his career.
"When you’re playing Messi you don’t play against him, because he’s always playing off you, he’s in midfield and he’s patient, waiting for that moment, waiting 20 minutes without the ball and then he’s going to run at you . . . different planet."
He claims that Rickie Lambert, the former Southampton, Liverpool and England forward, was the dirtiest player he faced.
"I didn’t know many dirty players, maybe just this guy from Southampton, he also played for Liverpool... I get an elbow from him. How did I handle it? You don’t 'handle it'. He became very small for me then. I'm sad for him actually, in my career I can't think of any other player who wanted to hurt me."
And finally, Vidic spoke about how Paul Scholes could "make a fool of you" in training.
"Scholes could always make a fool of you. He'd do it with the pass. He put the pass in such a way you think you have the ball and actually it's going just over your head. It was his kind of humour."