They may be in the latter stages of their extraordinary careers, which have been severely hampered by injuries during the last few terms, but it is safe to say that Rio Ferdinand and Nemana Vidić are still the bedrock of Manchester United’s defense, as their outstanding combination of experience, leadership and positioning make up for a slight loss of physical power and speed caused by those injuries,
Despite having only featured together 10 times in United’s starting line-up this season, their combined presence have always made a difference, totalling 7 wins, 2 draws and just one loss. A game that United would have never lost, had not been by a certain Turkish referee named Cuneyt Cakir, who wrongly sent off Luis Nani when United were in full control of the game against Real Madrid.
Since the beginning of the 2006/2007 season, they have formed a terrific partnership, but Sir Alex Ferguson knew that they would not last forever, so the Scotsman have been patiently moulding a trio of young defenders in the name of Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to take over from the old pairing when the time is right. A forth player, the even younger Michael Keane, could be the final piece to this quartet of highly-promising centre-backs.
Although Ferdinand, whose current contract runs out in June 2013, is yet to confirm whether he will prolong his career or not, he is widely expected to sign a 1-year deal with United. On the other hand, Vidić is under contract until June 2014, so all indicators point out towards one more season, at least, of one of the best centre-back pairing that Old Trafford have ever witnessed.
Season 2012/13: Results when Ferdinand and Vidić feature in United's XI