Rio Ferdinand was known throughout his career for not knowing fear. He also proved this during a visit to the Kremlin.
Rio Ferdinand was once one of those defenders who taught opposing attackers to fear. Resolute in a duel and rock solid when it had to be. His passion and courage were impressive and a role model for later defensive stars. This courage was obviously not played, because an anecdote from a few years ago shows that he really doesn’t seem to be afraid.
During the 2018 World Cup, which is known to have taken place in Russia, Ferdinand was part of a delegation of well-known footballers and officials who were received by President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin. In addition to Ferdinand, FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Lothar Matthäus and former England international Alex Scott were also present.
Scott later recalled this meeting in her book “How (Not) To Be Strong” – and an action by Ferdinand that she will probably never forget. “Rio made me laugh on the way out. He had opened his hand to show me he had taken a teaspoon as a souvenir,” she wrote. So the former defender cheekily stole from Putin!
Meeting with Putin: “I was afraid to drink the tea”
For Scott it was a fun end to what had been a not so pleasant day for her. “I was the only woman in the room, which must have caused some trouble behind the scenes because it was politics and I was sitting with some powerful leaders,” said Scott. However, she was only there to talk about football. “I even learned a sentence in Russian, but that went wrong,” she recalled.
She was obviously quite unfamiliar with the diplomatic arena Scott was walking on that day. “The whole morning was completely surreal. We took pictures with Putin, but I was afraid to drink the tea and eat the cake if I unknowingly violated an unspoken diplomatic rule,” explained the 38-year-old, who works with the English Team finished third at the 2015 World Championships.
For his part, Ferdinand apparently had significantly fewer concerns about diplomatic rules. After all, he secured a very special souvenir of this World Cup. And to be honest, just swapping shirts over and over again is pretty boring.