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Exclusive: The Nemanja Vidic Interview

Nemanja VidicThe pain of Manchester United’s comprehensive Champions League final defeat to Barcelona in May triggered a summer of upheaval at Old Trafford with star turns Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez seeking pastures new – but despite those defections the Premier League champions are still rightly among the leading fancies to land this season’s European crown.

During preparations for their opening Group B clash away to Turkish champions Besiktas, Red Rants caught up with United’s colossal defender Nemanja Vidic (arguably one of Ferguson’s best buys in the last 4 years) to find out what he makes of the new-look United and the prospects of Sir Alex Ferguson’s outfit reaching a third successive Champions League final…

Did your Champions League triumph in 2008 help to ease the pain of defeat to Barcelona in Rome?

Winning the Champions League in Moscow has made it easier for us to accept in a way because we know that we have already done it before. However, the desire to win the trophy again never wanes. I can assure you that everyone at Manchester United will be very unhappy if we fail to win the competition this season. The same goes for any competition we enter.

So Manchester United still has the highest expectations despite the rebuilding process that has gone on within the squad since the final in Rome?

Our expectations have not gone down at all because of the rebuilding. Our goals are exactly the same – to win the Premier League and to win the Champions League. We genuinely believe our fans will have many reasons to be happy this season and it is our intention to make that happen.

How are the players feeling as you prepare for the European campaign?

Well, none of us at Manchester United are thinking about last season’s final defeat to Barcelona anymore. It is time to look forward and I myself am fully concentrated on the new season that lies ahead. I’m only thinking about how we can become the best team in Europe once again and I believe that is something we are more than capable of achieving in 2010.

Do you have any predictions for the 2009/10 Champions League?

It’s too early for predictions because the final stages are so far away and the Champions League proper hasn’t even begun yet. However, generally I would agree with the experts that it’s between Real, Barcelona and the Premier League quartet. The Premier League is the best league in the world, so it’s logical that all the English clubs will have good odds of winning the competition while Barca are reigning champions and Real have quickly built a great team. There’s also always a surprise team in the Champions League every season too, so we really should be very careful with our predictions!

Losing Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez must have been felt strongly in the Manchester United dressing room. How much will you miss them?

It is true that we will miss Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez for their goals. We cannot deny that. However, this United squad really has enormous potential because we have so many talented youngsters, who are improving all the time. The club will continue to aspire to all the biggest goals no matter who leaves us. We can still win all the trophies on offer this season.

Luis Antonio Valencia is under pressure to fill the gap left by Ronaldo. Is he capable of doing that?

No one at Old Trafford expects Luis to take on Ronaldo’s role in the team but he has many qualities of his own that will help us. I believe he will become an important member of our team over the coming season.

And what impact can Michael Owen have in a Manchester United shirt?

Michael has proven his quality through the years so I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be successful. He can help us a lot, so we are all very happy to have him in our team. He is an important signing for the club. Manchester United has always had fantastic forwards and certainly we have such a situation in the current team as well. No matter who plays, I’m sure we will be lethal in front of goal. I believe Valencia and Owen will make our team better this season. They are very good players who will help us improve.

What is it like having to mark Michael Owen in training?

As a defender I can say with some certainty that it is really tough to mark Owen. He’s dangerous from all positions so you always need to be focused and on your toes. I’m sure our fans will soon realize that as well and see the best of him. I am pleased to be on his team.

Of all the strikers you have faced in the Champions League which have been the best?

It’s tough to pick out one name when it comes to Europe’s best strikers but if I could pick three I’d select Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. These guys are at the top of their game.

vidic-2Many people have begun to compare you with Jaap Stam. How does that feel?

I’m not bothering myself with comparisons between myself and Jaap Stam but it’s nice to hear such things. It feels good being compared to a player of such high calibre. He was a giant at United and a player I have a lot of respect for but I’ll try to make my own mark.

How do you find living in England?

Well, I’m not an English boy! However, I have grown accustomed to the lifestyle and I’m enjoying myself in Manchester. I always try to give the best. Winning three major titles in one season is not something that would happen every day and last season we won the league again. Everything can turn around overnight, so it’s really important that you always think only about the next match.

How do you spend your spare-time?

I really don’t have much free time in Manchester. On few rare occasions the club gives us two days free and we usually spend that time with our families. More or less I spend all my free time with my family. Sometimes people come to visit me, but that’s about it. I try to live a decent life. I don’t go to extravagant places and I don’t expose myself too much. My life is really very normal: training-restaurant-home!

Do you think Manchester United have any defensive issues to sort out this season?

No. The United defence is as hard as a rock. We have played together for a few years now and are a tight-knit unit. The manager demands total concentration and a fighting approach. All the players know their duties. Ferdinand, Brown, Neville and O’Shea are all seasoned professionals who know what it’s all about. We won’t win all the time, but we will always give our all.

On paper it has been argued that Manchester United look weaker this year. Will you prove them wrong?

Perhaps on paper we are weaker this season but on the pitch it is a different matter. Together, we have the determination and ability to prove to everyone that we can still accomplish all our goals this season. The season is very long and we know what it means to be a Manchester United player. Everyone gives their all against us. But that’s no problem for us. We are paid loads of money to win and that is what we intend to do.

We thank Nemanja Vidic for his time but before we end this, we’ll leave you with a compilation video of the man from Serbia…



  1. Jay Jay

    11 September 2009 at 11:01

    @UnitedUnited: ha ha haah aha heh ehehehehe, this one is a killer, i actually meet many people who ask such question when i go out to watch the game in pubs.

  2. Penn0r

    11 September 2009 at 11:15

    This isnt how Vidic speaks, nor how he writes..his English is not this advanced. Doesnt seem to be a word for word copy..

  3. RichmondRed

    11 September 2009 at 12:08

    @[OPTI]Madschester United: Are you an Irish or Wolverine fan?

  4. RichmondRed

    11 September 2009 at 12:12

    @Jay Jay: Who is Irwin’s daughter?

  5. Ondii Oketchii

    11 September 2009 at 12:26

    woah! RR, props, how did you pull this one off. I like.

  6. Ondii Oketchii

    11 September 2009 at 12:41

    @Grognard: “Fergie of late only like poor keepers” hope SAF reads this coz it might make him realise something about himself. Foster will cost us big tym.

  7. Ondii Oketchii

    11 September 2009 at 12:46

    @spizzy: wow! spizzy, thats grand optimism right there. Though i woud gladly take a 1 nil in from spurs. We will be in a very good position if we manage 6/9 points from the games vs arsenil, spurs and man pity. we already have 3. Not bad

  8. Ondii Oketchii

    11 September 2009 at 12:56

    @UnitedUnited: get out of here maen! thats so funny.

  9. spizzy

    11 September 2009 at 13:28

    @Ondii Oketchii: We have all of next week to moan, groan and rant about how much we suck, but I never take that attitude towards a match. I may change my view while watching the game, like i did against the arses and burnley but never prior to a match. I’m always optimistic that somehow united will put in an amazing performance and prove me wrong for criticizing fergie and the rest of them, except berba of course :smile:, he’s pure class in my eyes. The first twenty minutes for me determine how much venom I’ll spew the following week.

  10. Ondii Oketchii

    11 September 2009 at 14:36

    @spizzy: way 2 go. am the same though 4 me the amount of venom i’ll throw is normally dertemined like 1 hr before the game. The team selection sets my mood for the game, its when I see the likes of oshea, park, neville on the team sheet that I begin my venom spitting.

  11. Beachryan

    11 September 2009 at 16:41

    So I just popped out for a quick coffee (in London) and saw a big young guy walking down the street in a Tosic jersey. Random.

  12. Grognard

    11 September 2009 at 18:11

    @Penn0r: What exactly are you trying to say or insinuate?

  13. Grognard

    11 September 2009 at 18:14

    @Beachryan: The only way to explain that is the bloke was probably of Serbian heritage. Otherwise, why would I waste money and buy a jersey of a reserve player?

  14. Darth Red Diablo

    11 September 2009 at 19:37

    @Grognard: Good to see me back? 😆 😆

  15. Red Ranter

    11 September 2009 at 19:47

    @Beachryan: Must be Zoran Tosic himself. 🙂

  16. Penn0r

    11 September 2009 at 22:46

    Not trying to insinuate anything – just nobody else noticed that is not Vidic-speak at all? not even remotely resembling.

  17. keith

    11 September 2009 at 23:56

    can any one give me any news on this young russian goalkeeper who is up for a move to united, i will be happy forany information on him thanks.

  18. Redrich

    12 September 2009 at 00:12

  19. keith

    12 September 2009 at 00:48

    Thanks alot redrich your help is very much appreciated, what I would like to know how he is rated amoungst all of the united fans on this blog I would also like some feedback from grognard if possible as I do respect his opinion when it comes to goalkeepers. One more thing if I wanted to reply to someone in particular like I just did to Redrich is there a certain link that I can go to to bring their name up different to the regular text. By the way, am looking forward to sitting down with my son and watching tghe game tomorrow, I know that spurs are on form at the moment but I am predicting a united win

  20. Red Ranter

    12 September 2009 at 00:54

    @keith: Akinfeev is among the best young goalkeepers in the world at the moment. Grognard has been glowing in praise for Akinfeev countless times before on this blog. He is among his favourite keepers I believe. I also rate him quite high. I’m surprised you don’t seem to have heard much about him already.

    One thing’s for sure, I doubt he’ll come cheap.

  21. Redrich

    12 September 2009 at 00:57

    @keith: Clicking on the light gray arrow to the right of the commentators name will allow you to reply to that specific comment. It’s a good thing to do as well, so we all know who you’re talking to! 🙂

  22. keith

    12 September 2009 at 00:59

    Thanks alot Redrich I do appreciate your help but what I would like is some feedback from other United fans on this site as to how they rate him and that would include you Grognade as I do respect your opinions on goalkeepers. Is there a link that I need to go to if I wanted to reply to a particular person like i am replying to Redrich so that their name is in a different colour text to the message.

    Looking forward to sitting down with my son tomorrow and watching the game, I know that Spurs are an form but I am predicting a win to united with a very tight game.

  23. keith

    12 September 2009 at 01:02

    @Red Ranter: Thanks alot Red Ranter and I must apoligise for sending the same message twice but I must have done so by mistake

  24. keith

    12 September 2009 at 01:06

    @Redrich: Thanks alot Redrich as you can see that I have carried out your instructions and the first one was to the Red Ranter himself, what can I say.

    By the way I notice that this site is very quiet at this time Iam certain all of us are not on GMT and surly I am not the only one at work after midnight.

  25. Redrich

    12 September 2009 at 01:29

    @keith: You’re right we’re not all on GMT, but it seems to get quiet this time of day, usually.
    Perhaps if you join the ranks more often, you could stir things up a bit! 🙂 🙂

  26. Redrich

    12 September 2009 at 02:04

    Is Tevez really gonna miss the derby game because of injury, or is Sparky sheltering him from a shower of phlegm when he makes his OT return??

    I think the latter.! This gutless Argie has no stomach for the big stage, and certainly not when there’s an element of adversity attached to it.

    Where’s all you’re verbal bravado now, Carlos?? 👿 👿

  27. Redrich

    12 September 2009 at 02:23

    @Red Ranter: “I doubt he’ll come cheap.”
    Well I doubt he’ll come at all then!! 😆

  28. Redrich

    12 September 2009 at 02:50

    Well I’ve just finished watching the England v Croatia game for the first time, and while England did dominate and take some/most of their opportunities, I thought Croatia played like a three legged horse. They seemed to be terribly motivated for such an important game, and handled the English pressure like it was a mere friendly.
    It’s great we’re going to SA, and probably with a decent seeding too, but the nature of this game didn’t tell me a thing about our prospects there!!

  29. Grognard

    12 September 2009 at 04:01

    @Redrich: It does amaze me how so many will ask the simplest question s on here when all it takes is Google and wikipedia to usually open a plethora of sites containing info about the person place or thing. 😀

  30. Grognard

    12 September 2009 at 04:08

    @keith: I have spoken about Akinfeev on many occasions in the past. I do not rate him as high Neuer, Adler, Boruc or Frey but I would place him right after that when it comes to keepers who are great and can be bought. No point mentioning Buffon and Casillas as they are lifers with their respective clubs.

    Akinfeev is an excellent shot stopper and has tremendous reflexes. His distribution is good and his positioning and concentration is also good. My only concerns with him is he struggles a little mor eon crossed balls into the box (not as bad as Foster) and his lack of English could be a problem when communicating with his defense. On that I am in agreement with Fergie. I know that Neuer, Adler have workable English and Boruc has played in Scotland long enough to be fluent. Then again, they don’t really speak English in Scotland but at least Fergie will understand him and vice versa. 😀 😉

    I like Akinfeev and I would not complain if we signed him but we will really be missing the boat if we don’t go after Neuer or at least Adler. Two of the very best young keepers I have ever seen and Neuer is one of the best I have ever seen period.

  31. Grognard

    12 September 2009 at 04:11

    @Red Ranter: True he would not come cheap, but then again who does these days? He would be a cheaper solution to Neuer, Adler, Frey or Boruc who all play with bigger clubs in bigger leagues that will demand more just because of their status and league. Players from Russia aren’t cheap but they aren’t overpriced either. Pavlyuchenko, Pogrebnyak, Arshavin and others have come for a lot less than i feel they are worth. Only Chelsea paid above the value of the very good Zhirkov.

  32. Grognard

    12 September 2009 at 04:16

    I’m thinking about what’s been going on at Stamford Bridge of late and the title of an old Elvis Costello song comes to mind “I don’t want to go to Chelsea”. The lyrics don’t work but I do like humming the title a lot. 😆

  33. jos

    12 September 2009 at 05:26

    @Grognard: you still think boruc is good? i think he is been commiting far too many errors for a goal keeper of that class!

    Neuer and Adler on the other hand are class.

  34. jos

    12 September 2009 at 05:35

    @Grognard: Also dont know much about frey but Lloris has successfully replaced him as france GK No.1. Lloris also rated by many to be the best young goalie (almost as good as casillas/bufoon)

  35. Redrich

    12 September 2009 at 07:10

    @Grognard: I know that, but it’s only fair to give a start to someone who’s dipping his foot in the water.
    Wouldn’t give him a second chance though! 😆 😆

  36. Redrich

    12 September 2009 at 07:20

    @Grognard: Isn’t a bitch, when we got Valencia for about the same as Arsenal got Arshavin.

    Value is, as SAF does!! 🙄 🙄

  37. Grognard

    12 September 2009 at 08:16

    @jos: Boruc big weakness is concentration and focus. When he is concentrating I think he is absolutely awesome. However, he had his marriage breakup cause him a lot of problems last year from what I heard. As that is no little thing as I can relate, it can really mess with a man’s mind. I think he is over that now and I expect a big season. He also needs a change of scenery. When it comes to raw save ability and reflexes, I doubt anyone is better than him except maybe Neuer. Of course Neuer is the complete package which makes him a better buy with less risk. Still Pee Wee Herman or the late Benny Hill would have been better in goal than Ben Frakken Foster.

  38. Grognard

    12 September 2009 at 08:18

    @jos: Frey is very flakey and a bit of weirdo. He’s a total head case other than that, he too is a great shot stopper but he put down Domenich many times in the press and this is why he is not in the French plans.

  39. Grognard

    12 September 2009 at 08:22

    @Redrich: It absolutely incenses me. I was on the Arshavin bandwagon way before Arsenal picked him up and I was a loud vocal promoter of him on this site. I find it amazing how I can know more about a player than Fergie. Hell Fergie is only now cluing to Neuer and Diego. Hell I was calling the name Diego last year too. He had a chance to get both Arshavin and Diego last year at much better prices but the old man was either not interested or asleep at the wheel. The day that really gets me pissed off is the noght of the UEFA Cup final at OT when Zenit beat Rangers. Arshavin put on a magical display right there in front of Fergie who was watching in the stands and still, he never signed him. 🙄

  40. B.B. Serbia

    12 September 2009 at 11:07

    Nemanja is a fucking legend!!!! 😈

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