Rivals

The truth behind Nemanja Vidic's famed battles with Fernando Torres

Jude Summerfield
Torres and Vidic tussled famously when Man Utd faced Liverpool
Torres and Vidic tussled famously when Man Utd faced Liverpool /
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The common belief is that Fernando Torres tore Manchester United's Nemanja Vidić apart during his time at Liverpool.

It all started on the 14th March 2009, when Torres’ speed gave the Man Utd centre-back nightmares. The forward scored the equaliser on that day, and Vidić was sent off in the 76th minute. Liverpool won 4-1 at Old Trafford, handing United their worst home defeat in 17 years.

Their next game, during the 2009/10 season, produced the same outcome: Torres scored and Vidić saw red.

Interestingly, four of the Serbian’s eight red cards for Man Utd came against Liverpool.

“There’s always going to be that one player in your career who’s difficult. He might not be the best player on the planet, but his style is made to hurt your style. And Torres might have just been that for Nemanja,” Rio Ferdinand explained.

However, the myth of Torres destroying Vidić every time they faced off is rather far from the truth. In their encounter on 19th September 2010 for example, the defender neutralised his Spanish nemesis - putting in a colossal performance for the Red Devils.

The stats put it into perspective: In 15 meetings, Torres only scored three goals against Vidić’s Man Utd.

"People say: 'You had a difficult game against Torres', but it was just the one game," Vidić said. "I misjudged the distance and Torres scored.”

It was Vidic who usually had the last laugh, with his United side often finishing higher than their bitter rivals. By the end of the 2008/09 season, the Red Devils had been confirmed as Premier League champions by finishing four points ahead of Liverpool.

Nemanja Vidic, Alan Wiley
Vidic was famously sent off against Liverpool / Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

When the Serbian defender was asked about the four toughest strikers he faced in the Premier League, El Niño wasn’t even named. Instead, Vidić chose Peter Crouch, Didier Drogba, Sergio Agüero and Luis Suárez.

The moral of the story? Don't believe everything you read on Twitter.


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