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Fans react angrily to Rio Ferdinand’s combined Manchester XI

With the Manchester derby on Sunday fast approaching, fans and pundits alike are discussing what is likely to be a feisty occasion. As is often the case, combined XIs are being chosen.

And while those discussions always seem to get people talking, the internet has reacted particularly badly to Rio Ferdinand’s combined 21st Manchester City and Manchester United line-up. The former United defender offered his opinions on FIVE, his football platform. But what has got everyone so riled up? Read on to find out.

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Rio Ferdinand has certainly stirred up debate with his choices. Photo by Icon Sport

What is Rio Ferdinand’s combined 21st century Manchester City and Manchester United XI?

With 24 years’ worth of incredible players to choose from, there were always going to be some controversial opinions. But there are a number of particularly questionable decisions in Rio’s team.

The omissions of United legends Roy Keane and Paul Scholes are surprising. Despite serious debate over whether to include him, Rio also opted to leave out David Beckham, a move which has riled lots of fans up.

Jaap Stam, David Silva, Ilkay Gündogan, Ederson and Vincent Kompany were also very unfortunate to miss out.


Rio’s full team is as follows:


GK: Edwin Van der Sar


RB: Kyle Walker

CB: Rio Ferdinand

CB: Nemanja Vidic

LB: Patrice Evra


DM: Rodri

CM: Kevin De Bruyne

CM: Yaya Touré


RW: Wayne Rooney

ST: Sergio Aguero

LW: Cristiano Ronaldo

How did fans react to Rio Ferdinand’s combined XI?

It is safe to say that many fans were not impressed. Underneath the YouTube video in which Rio offered his picks, there was a fair amount of backlash in the comments section.

YouTube user @danutd94, perhaps unsurprisingly given his username, wrote “That all-City midfield is an absolute embarrassment.”

@Healthimprove shared a similar opinion, commenting “No Keane, it’s a joke, the most influential player in Premier League history.”

@ciaranoconnell4783 believed that even the current Manchester City manager would not be satisfied with Rio’s starting XI, writing “Guardiola would have Paul Scholes in his starting XI. That says everything.”

The conversation was not limited to the midfield, though. @liamstaffordd wrote “Van Persie and Berbatov definitely underrated. Two absolute elite technically good players with great finishing.”

As far as the defence is concerned, @tcsingh100 was concise with his thoughts. “Rio and Stam… wow. End of discussion,” he wrote.

@giganicrik wasn’t happy with Kyle Walker’s inclusion, commenting “Neville invented the winger/defender when he always ran past Beckham to put the cross in.”

@Reypstraptor4269 saw the funny side, saying “It’s criminal not to have Sheikh Mansour in the team. If that man did not exist City would be doing a combined 11 with Luton Town for the relegation battle derby at this point in time.”

It’s safe to say that Rio’s XI did not go down brilliantly with fans. All eyes are now on Sunday when United take on City and more players will be hoping to go down as club legends in this fixture.

Jamie Barton

A freelance football writer and podcaster, Jamie has appeared on/in the BBC World Service, PA Media, Charlton Athletic FC and Empire of the Kop, among others. He's attended matches all around the world, from Tranmere to Tokyo, and once had his bus home from the 2022 Champions League final in Paris delayed by 28 hours.

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