How Portsmouth are giving Manchester United, West Ham United and Leeds United great Rio Ferdinand sleepless nights

The pain is still palpable for one of the greatest defenders of the modern era.

By Jordan Cross
Saturday, 9th April 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Saturday, 9th April 2022, 8:40 am

And Pompey have everything to do with the suffering of the former Manchester United, Leeds and West Ham hero.

Rio Ferdinand has admitted he still have sleepless nights over the fact he never lifted the FA Cup in a stellar professional playing career.

He may have six Premier League titles and a Champions League success in an extensive honours list from a decorated career.

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But Ferdinand never got to lift the famous, old trophy aloft in his playing days, which saw him regarded as one of the finest defenders to play the game.

The 43-year-old, of course, was expected to brush Pompey aside in 2008, as the United side who went on to win the league and conquer Europe met Harry Redknapp’s men in the FA Cup quarter-finals at Old Trafford.

Pompey withstood intense precious from Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo & Co before hitting them with a classic sucker-punch with 12 minutes remaining.

Sulley Muntari smashes the ball past stand-in Manchester United goalkeeper Rio Ferdinand during Pompey's FA Cup win at Old Trafford in 2008. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Milan Baros was brought down by substitute keeper Tomasz Kuszczak, who had replaced the injured Edwin van der Sar at half-time.

Kuszczak was given his marching orders - leaving Ferdinand to go between the sticks and face Sulley Muntari’s penalty with 12 minutes remaining.

This week, in his role as a BT Sport pundit, Ferdinand made his feelings clear over the gap in his trophy cabinet.

‘I haven’t won the FA Cup,’ he said when asked about the competition. ‘I lose sleep over it.’

If it wasn’t for one of the greatest displays in Pompey’s history it could well have been a very different story for the England international.

As it is, it’s Blues fans with the never-to-be-forgotten memories - and it’s Ferdinand who’s left tossing and turning at night over what could’ve been…