Nemanja Vidic is a leader, a winner and an absolute brute. Signed from Spartak Moscow almost 6 years ago, Vidic wasn’t known by many people.
He was a full Serbia & Montenegrin international, who had come to recognition by only conceding one goal during qualification for the 2006 World Cup. That was some feat, and his fine performances for Serbia & Montenegro hadn’t gone unnoticed by Sir Alex.
Manchester United duly went about their business and signed Nemanja, beating some stiff competition, for a reported fee of £7 million, in January 2006, after his work permit had been granted. A no-nonsense defender, along side Rio Ferdinand, Vidic would go on to form the heart of Manchester United’s defence for years to come.
Nemanja Vidic was born 30 years ago today in Uzice, Yugoslavia. Vidic has played in central defence all his life, and began his career up the football ladder, as a defender for the Serbian club, Red Star Belgrade. However, even at that early stage in his career, Vidic demonstrated his qualities, both as a leader and a goal-scoring defender.
He was presented with the Captain’s armband for Red Star Belgrade early on and the management team must have seen something in him then, to suggest he would be successful as a captain, just as Sir Alex would go on to name Vidic as the Manchester United captain further down the line.
Playing in a total of 67 games for his first club, and notching 12 goals in those 3 years, Vidic was an absolutely sublime central defender that was just coming to emergence. Unsurprisingly, his qualities shone through and were rewarded as Red Star Belgrade won the domestic double in Serbia, thanks in no small part to Captain Nemanja.
Vidic then signed for Spartak Moscow of Russia, in 2004, where it was reported that he became the most expensive defender in the history of the Russian Premier league. Living up to these high expectations, after a further 2 years at Spartak, where Vidic continued to score from central defence, the Serb continued to gain plaudits for club and country which brought him to the attention of many of the top clubs in Europe.
After all this hard work, Vidic’s time arrived when Manchester United came calling. Thankfully this was an offer he simply couldn’t resist and he duly signed for the Red Devils, where he was given the #15 shirt.
Vidic found it hard to settle in and adapt at United during the early stages of his career, making some rocky performances in the red shirt, which led to some people questioning whether it was wise to sign him during the mid-season. Others suggested that maybe he wasn’t cut out for English football, after struggling to impress in the first few games, and Vidic found himself on the periphery of the team at the end of his first season at the club.
However, Vidic is made of stronger stuff and naturally put his head down during the pre-season campaign for Manchester United, in the hope of sealing his place as the 1st choice central defensive partner for Rio Ferdinand. Doing exactly that by the start of the 06/07 Premier League campaign, Vidic formed a solid core in central defence with Ferdinand which helped United win the Premier League title in his first full season at the club.
All of a sudden, the £7 million United had paid for him was looking like a bargain, making 38 appearances in all competitions during the 06-07 campaign, scoring 4 goals in the process. Nonetheless, Vidic’s next season for United would prove to be his most memorable yet.
By now, Vidic was more than established in the United 1st team, and after some great defensive performances, Vidic’s commitment and skill was rewarded with a contract extension in November 2007. He continued to start matches and by the end of the 2007/08 campaign he had 32 League appearances to his name in that season.
Although he only scored 1 goal in the league that season, Vidic was unrivalled in terms of defensive ability and his partnership with Ferdinand had become so solid that it led to many suggesting that they were the no two better defenders in the whole world. A second consecutive league title followed for Vidic but there was more as, after knocking out Barcelona in the Champions League Semi finals, United faced Chelsea for the end of season show piece in Moscow.
Vidic started the game with his central defensive partner, Rio Ferdinand, and together they kept Chelsea at bay with some solid defending although the game eventually finished 1-1 after extra-time. Penalties next but after a nervous shoot-out, Manchester United emerged victorious and Vidic had his first Champions league medal with the club.
In terms of appearances, the 2008/09 Premier league season would be Vidic’s best yet as the Serb appeared 55 times in all competitions, with his consistent performances proving a vital factor in United’s 3rd consecutive Premier League title.
Only missing 4 games in the Premier League that season, a measure of just how fit and consistent he really was, Vidic ended the season with 7 goals to his name in all competitions. Along with the Premier League, United also won the League cup that season, with Vidic at the heart of our success.
An injury troubled season followed as Vidic only managed 24 appearances during the 2009/10 campaign and regrettably United failed to win the Premier league for a record 4th consecutive season; leaving Vidic and Co to pick up the League cup after defeating Aston Villa 2-1 at Wembley- although Vidic was very fortunate to stay on the pitch after taking down Gabriel Agblongahor in the box for what looked like a penalty and an obvious dismissal.
Regardless, Vidic did go on to record his highest number of appearances in the League during the following 2010/11 campaign, where he made 35 appearances, missing just 3. With this signigificant increase in appearances, of 46%, it was no surprise to see United improve their defensive record as they went on to reclaim the title from Chelsea’s hands, handing Vidic his fourth Premier League winners’ medal with the club.
During his time, Vidic has won the Premier League title four times, the Community Shield four times, the League Cup three times, the FIFA Club World Cup and the Champions League.
In total, Vidic has made 235 appearances for Manchester United and scored 18 goals. He has 13 honours in total with Manchester United.
Therefore, on behalf of all Manchester United fans, I’d like to wish Nemanja Vidic a happy 30th birthday and the best of luck in his quest to win more silverware in the future!
Written by Demi
Happy 30th Birthday Nemanja Vidic! A Timeline of his United Career So Far