Nemanja Vidic has named the four best Premier League strikers he’s faced in his career – but surprisingly Fernando Torres isn’t one of them.
The Spaniard terrorized Vidic in various encounters between Liverpool and Manchester United, but he didn’t mention it when talking about who gave him the most trouble.
Instead, Vidic cited Didier Drogba, Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez, but also Peter Crouch, the 1.80m striker, because for the former Man United captain, dealing with a player like was an unknown adventure to him.
“My first experience was Peter Crouch. I had never seen a player two meters tall before,” Vidic told Andy Mitten of The Athletic.
« He was playing for Liverpool and we played them in a cup game at Anfield. I was like, “Wow, what can I do today with this guy?
“Then I saw Bellamy next to him, not a great player on the ball but very, very fast. He was running in space, Crouch was jumping in the air. I had never seen football played like this.
“I had never had a number 9 and a lively and fast player next to him. I knew how to handle them individually but not both at the same time. I played alongside Wes Brown, it was a tough game, a long game. We lost 1-0. »
On Drogba, who was sent off in the 2008 Champions League final for slapping Vidic, the former Inter Milan centre-back described the Chelsea legend as « a very intelligent player who interfered in the brain of the defenders”.
Vidic crossed paths with Aguero in his final years at United and said the Argentine was responsible for the worst game he ever played for the club.
During a Mancunian derby at the Etihad in 2013 (4-1), Aguero and Alvaro Negredo gave him and Rio Ferdinand a nightmare.
« I played against Aguero when they beat us 4-1 during Moyes’ season, » Vidic said.
« It looks like he (Aguero) is not interested in football on the pitch.
« He doesn’t look like a guy who will run 10 meters and then – bang – he does the sprint. I am convinced that Aguero was born as a defender. He knows where the ball is going and where he can attack.
“It was my worst game for United. I know I’m supposed to pick those two final losses and they were horrible to lose. The one in Rome and Wembley was even tougher. »
Suarez drew similar praise from Vidic, who found the Uruguayan never lacked energy during games.
“Everything happens in spurts,” he said.
“I don’t think he knows exactly what he’s doing but he’s got it. He is very direct and is hungry to score. He runs for 90 minutes, he has fire in him. »
Vidic played 300 times for United, winning five Premier League titles and one Champions League.