Manchester United: The Biography By Jim WhiteNemanja Vidić (Serbian Cyrillic: Немања Видић) (born October 21, 1981 in Titovo Užice) is a Serbian footballer. He plays for the English club Manchester United in the Premier League and for the Serbian national team.

Club career

Early years

Nemanja Vidić was born to Dragoljub, a retired copper factory worker, and Zora, a bank clerk. Vidić took up football at 7 years of age, alongside his older brother Dušan, with local side Jedinstvo Užice. He progressed quickly, and moved to Sloboda Užice at the age of 12.[1][2]

Red Star and Spartak Moscow

Two and a half years later, before his 15th birthday, Red Star Belgrade signed Vidić to their youth system. He started his senior career on a season-long loan deal at FK Spartak Subotica in 2000. He moved back to Red Star Belgrade after the loan deal ended, playing regularly in the top-flight Yugoslav League. He won the 2001–02 Yugoslav Cup with Red Star.[3][4] Vidić quickly gained the captain's armband, and during his three years as captain, he scored 12 goals in 67 matches, and ended his Red Star Belgrade career on a high note by leading the club to a domestic double. He won the 2004 Serbia and Montenegro League and Serbia and Montenegro Cup trophies with Red Star Belgrade, and in July 2004, he joined Russian Premier League side Spartak Moscow.[1][5] The details of the transfer were not revealed although it was reported that Vidić became the most expensive defender in the history of the Russian Premier League.[6]

Manchester United

After playing two seasons at Spartak Moscow, Vidić signed for Manchester United for a reported fee of around £7 million on January 5, 2006;[7] two and a half years after Manchester United's reported interest in him.[8] He was assigned the number 15 shirt and made his debut for Manchester United as a substitute for Ruud van Nistelrooy in the dying minutes of Manchester United's 2–1 win in the Carling Cup semi-final second leg against Blackburn Rovers on January 25, 2006.[9][10]

During the 2006–07 Premier league season, Vidić formed a partnership with Rio Ferdinand in the centre of defence, which has since become one of the most prominent partnerships in English football, and has become an established first team player.[5][11][12] In his first full season playing for Manchester United he made 25 appearances in the Premier league and ended the season winning his first league medal.[13][14]

Vidić scored his first ever goal for Manchester United on 14 October 2006 against Wigan Athletic—United went on to win 3–1.[15] He scored his second goal in a 3–0 win over Portsmouth on November 4, his first goal at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium.[16] He scored his first Champions League goal for Manchester United against S.L. Benfica on 6 December in the group stages; a match which Manchester United won 3–1.[17]

Praised for his aggressive no-nonsense defensive style, he is now recognised as one of the best defenders in the Premier League and in Europe.[11][18] Nicknamed Vida[19][20] by his Manchester United teammates, he is highly regarded for his physical presence, heading ability in both defence and at attacking set pieces, as well as his bravery.[19][21][22][23][24][25] Because of this, he enjoys a cult status among United faithful[21][26][27][28] and is often compared to former Manchester United defender Steve Bruce for having similar characteristics.[19][29]

Vidić won Serbia's Overseas Player of the Year award for 2005, playing for Spartak Moscow, a poll of the captains of the 16 clubs in the Serbian Superliga that is organized annually (the first award was given in 1996) by daily newspaper Večernje novosti. He was once again the recipient of the award for 2007 and 2008, this time playing for Manchester United.[30][31][32] The executive committee of the Serbian football association named him Player of the year for 2005 and 2008.[33][34][35] He was named in the 2006-07 and 2007–08 PFA Premiership Team of the Season. [36][37] In addition, he was shortlisted for the 2006–07 and 2007–08 UEFA European Club Defender of the Year[38][39] and was also shortlisted for the 2006–07 and 2007–08 FIFPro World XI player award[40][41] and also for the 2008 Ballon d'Or award.[42]

On 8 November 2007, Vidić signed a two-year contract extension, keeping him at Manchester United until 2012.[43] At the end of the 2007–08 season, he earned his second consecutive Premier League medal.[44] He also was a part of the squad which won the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final versus Chelsea[45]—his first European medal. During United's 2007–08 season, he made 32 league appearances and scored one goal.[46]

International career

A Yugoslavian youth international, he made his senior debut on October 12, 2002 against Italy in UEFA Euro 2004 qualification.[1][47] Vidić was part of the Serbian and Montenegrin national team's "Famous Four" defence,[48] alongside Mladen Krstajić, Ivica Dragutinović and Goran Gavrančić, that conceded just one goal during the ten 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification matches, setting new record for the fewest goals conceded. Vidić played a major part in the last qualification game, against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Serbia and Montenegro won 1–0 and secured qualification, despite Vidić picking up a red card five minutes before the end.[1] Vidić missed out on Serbia and Montenegro's opening group stage match against the Netherlands through suspension from his red card in last qualifying game,[49] and on 12 June 2006 he injured his left knee ligaments during training and he did not play any games at the 2006 World Cup.[50] After the 2006 World Cup, Vidić went on to represent the national team, now independent as the Serbia national football team.

Personal

On 17 July 2006, Vidić married Ana Ivanović, an economics student at the University of Belgrade (no relation to the Serbian tennis star of the same name). Together, they have a son named Luka.[51][52]

Honours

Team

Red Star Belgrade

  • Yugoslav Cup:
    • Winner (1): 2002
  • Serbian SuperLiga:
    • Winner (1): 2003–04
  • Serbia and Montenegro Cup:
    • Winner (1): 2004

Manchester United

  • Premier League
    • Winner (2): 2006–07, 2007–08
    • Runner-up (1): 2005–06
  • FA Cup:
    • Runner-up (1): 2006–07
  • Carling Cup:
    • Winner (1): 2005–06
  • FA Community Shield:
    • Winner (2): 2007, 2008
  • UEFA Champions League:
    • Winner (1): 2007–08
  • UEFA Super Cup
    • Runner-up (1): 2008
  • FIFA Club World Cup:
    • Winner (1): 2008

Individual

  • Serbia's Overseas Player of the Year (3): 2005 (with FC Spartak Moscow), 2007, 2008 (with Manchester United)
  • Serbian Footballer of the Year (2): 2005 (with FC Spartak Moscow), 2008 (with Manchester United)
  • PFA Team of the Year (2): 2006–07, 2007–08 (with Manchester United)

References and Notes

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