Whenever there’s a conversation about the greatest defender of the Premier League era, Nemanja Vidic is a name that always crops up.
For close to a decade at Manchester United, the no-nonsense Serbian centre-back really was a force to be reckoned with.
Vidic forged an impregnable partnership at the back with Rio Ferdinand and helped the Red Devils win a plethora of trophies – including the Champions League in 2008.
Unlike some centre-backs in the present day, Vidic seemed to actually enjoy the sweet art of defending and putting his body on the line to help the team.
Sir Alex Ferguson once said: “How many centre-halves can you name who actually like defending? Vidic liked it. He loved the challenge of sticking his head in there. You could tell that the thrill of contesting those 50-50 balls animated him.”
That mentality is rare in football, certainly these days anyway.
And Vidic’s love of defending resulted in him producing perhaps the most iconic tackle ever witnessed in a Premier League match.
In a 2013 encounter between United and Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, Vidic sent Kyle Walker flying into the air with a rather brutal – yet brilliant and completely fair – challenge.
Walker was made to do an involuntary somersault by his opponent, but to be fair to him, the Englishman didn’t complain one bit after losing a 50/50 battle in such dramatic fashion.
Check out the legendary snippet of defending from Vidic here…
Video: Vidic’s tackle on Walker in 2013
We’ve watched that video countless times down the years and it just never, ever gets old.
In 2016, Vidic was asked to give his thoughts on the tackle and like pretty much every single football fan, he couldn’t help but profess his love for it.
“I don’t remember all of my tackles – I was sometimes playing with concussion – but I remember that one,” Vidic replied, per FourFourTwo.
“Kyle went honestly for the ball and so did I. It’s why I like that challenge: it doesn’t matter who won; what mattered is that we both went for the ball. I love that about English football and hope it never changes.”
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