“He tried to get under your skin”

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Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has revealed that Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand used to try to play mind games with him to earn favorable decisions.

Clattenburg, who was recently appointed the head of the Refereeing Committee for the Egyptian FA, plied his trade in the Premier League between 2004 and 2017. Over the course of his 13-year spell, he officiated 292 English top-flight matches, diffusing numerous difficult situations and showing several cards.

I am so excited to commence my role as Head of the Refereeing Committee for the Egyptian FA, coming to OM Eldonia. 🇪🇬 #egypt @ EFA #egyptfa #football thank you @cat4psm for facilitating the move

Clattenburg was at the peak of his powers in Sir Alex Ferguson’s era, meaning he had many brushes with notable Manchester United stars. Recounting the most notorious players he has refereed in his career, Clattenburg surprisingly took Ferdinand’s name, accusing the Englishman of playing mind games with him.

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Revealing what made Ferdinand a difficult case, Clattenburg said (via the Sun):

“I found him difficult to referee during that Fergie era because he was always trying to play mind games. He tried to get under your skin, probably to get that next decision.

“Rio was such a difficult player to referee as he was always in your face. When I got older and a bit more wiser, he probably left us alone more.”

Rio Ferdinand is one of Manchester United’s best-ever footballers

Twenty-time English champions Manchester United have had the privilege of fielding many exceptional footballers over the years. Ferdinand, who joined the club from Leeds United in 2002 and left as a free agent in 2014, is certainly one of the best players to wear the shirt.

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The towering centre-back was a leader at the back, had unparalleled defensive acumen, and formed an exceptional partnership with centre-back partner Nemanja Vidic.

Over the course of his illustrious career in Manchester, Ferdinand featured in 455 games for the Red Devils across competitions, scoring eight goals and providing nine assists.

The former England international helped them to 15 trophies, including six Premier League titles, a Champions League trophy, and three League Cups.

Also Read: “The most irritating player” – Former Premier League official Mark Clattenburg says ex-Liverpool attacker was the worst footballer he dealt with

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