Image from: freelargeimages.com
Comparison 6 – Nemanja Vidic v Rio Ferdinand
The pair were the rock at the back for Manchester United and they gave a solidity at the back that allowed a more attacking style to be played. Totally different style of players, but together they were brilliant. Mainly. Would the Red Devil’s have achieved anything like the success they did without them?
They are difficult to compare, as they are two different styles of player altogether. Rio was a ball-playing defender, while Vidic was the hardman physical defender. On the pitch Rio was the brains and Vidic the brawn and it was an almost perfect combination. Alex Ferguson was so confident in their abilities that he would often play a more attacking style of play because of it. He had faith that they could deal with opposition attackers, even if they were left one-on-one.
First Touch: There is a clear gulf in class in this aspect, Rio was a player of genuine class and he was happy to have the ball at his feet and play out from the back. Vidic was not bad with the ball, but it was clearly not his strength and his first touch was not as usually perfect as Rio’s.
Tackling: This is very close, Rio’s main skill was in not needing to tackle too often through reading the game well. However Vidic’s tackling was a huge part of his game and was hard but usually good. Both had good timing and generally won the ball when they committed to the challenge.
Passing: A clear win for Rio, as his passing was very good, while Vidic was just a basic win it, give it and let the team get on with on it kind of defender. Rio was someone who wanted to get involved in the play and he could pass the ball well.
Heading: While Rio was good in the air, Vidic was excellent and so takes the win in this department. His power in the air was a key component of his defending, and also made him a threat in the opposition penalty area.
Defensive Awareness: Their awareness was exceptional, it had to be as they were usually left with no cover or help against a break. They were good enough to deal with it, most of the time.
Reading of the Game: There is a clear advantage for Rio, Vidic was very good but Rio was truly exceptional, among the best of his generation. It was one of the features of his game that made him quite so brilliant.
Aggression: Vidic was a much more aggressive player, Rio’s biggest weakness was his lack of aggression. He was style, Vidic was the aggressive growling bite alongside him.
Composure: Rio was brilliantly composed on the ball, while Vidic did lack a bit of composure on the ball. However the pair of them could get flustered when under pressure defensively, especially against someone with real pace. Rio could often rely on his pace to get him out of trouble, when that pace was not enough, then he would often struggle. Vidic was even more prone to becoming flustered and was usually the one to suffer as pacey players would target him.
Concentration: Vidic was very good at keeping his concentration but Rio was prone to lapses, particularly early in his career when he would fall asleep at times in matches. It was something he improved upon, but there were still moments he would be caught out.
Acceleration: Rio had a clear advantage in this aspect, he had excellent acceleration, almost as quick as the strikers he faced on a regular basis. Vidic was not at that level, like most centre-backs, he was not the quickest on the turn and did not possess lightning acceleration.
Pace: This was much closer, it just took Vidic longer to get up to speed, but Rio was definitely quicker. Rio could sometimes rely too heavily on his pace to get him out of trouble, which is a big part of the problem that saw the duo struggle when up against lightning quick attackers.
Strength: Rio was not the strongest centre-back, it was possible to bully him, but Vidic was a powerhouse of a defender. Where Rio would depend heavily on his pace, Vidic would sometimes do the same with his physical strength.
Leap: Vidic was extremely strong in the air and dominated penalty boxes in both offence and defence, usually managing to add a few goals a season. Rio was decent in the air, but nowhere near the quality of Vidic.
Suggested by Utd Road
Written by Tris Burke May 03 2020 21:51:31