The former United captain shocked the world on Tuesday (19 September) when he revealed that he would try his hand at professional boxing at the age of 38.
Many have questioned why Ferdinand would pursue such a rigourous sport at his age, with many citing money and publicity as the main motivation.
However, Anderson believes the “sweet science” will serve to fill a void in the 38-year-old’s post-football career, citing his own experiences following his retirement.
“You’ve [Anderson] won huge trophies with Nottingham Forest, played for Arsenal and Manchester United, and represented your country 30 times,” Anderson wrote on the Daily Mail. “But suddenly you’re 38 years old, football is all you’ve known since the age of 10 and you’re no longer even the main breadwinner. I tell you, there are a lot of years stretching out ahead of you in a moment like that.”
“It’s one of the reasons why I understand totally why Rio Ferdinand has taken the decision to move into a career in boxing. He’s 38, too — as I was when my playing days suddenly came to an end at Middlesbrough.
“At least I could fall back on a domestic set-up. Ferdinand is still coming to terms with the loss of his wife. He lost his mother this summer, too.”
Ferdinand retired from the beautiful game in 2015 after he was released by Queens Park Rangers and has since become a TV pundit while he also has other business ventures.
Anderson adds that while Ferdinand will be paid handsomely for taking part in a boxing match, what is more of a pull factor is the sensation of competing once again.
“Football might bring an income beyond belief these days but believe me, money counts for nothing when, as an ex-footballer, you’re trying to find a sense of purpose again,” Anderson added. “I can’t begin to imagine how it would be to lose those who have meant most to you at a time like that.”
“I see some people are saying Ferdinand is moving into boxing for the money, with a bookmaker ready to pay him £250,000 to take the risk. Well, I would say that’s a very short-sighted view indeed.
“Ferdinand has money, media work and a fashion label but nothing in the world compares with the sensation of being out there, in the arena, making the decisions and living with the consequences. In our own way, we’re all looking to preserve that sensation for as long as we can.”
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