Nemanja Vidic has told FourFourTwo that he dreaded coming up against Didier Drogba more than Fernando Torres.
The decorated Red Devils centre-back won the Premier League five times in almost a decade with the Old Trafford giants from 2006-14, as well as lifting the League Cup on three occasions, the Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup.
But Vidic's 300 club appearances also featured several difficult encounters with Chelsea and Liverpool, with all six of the red cards he received during his United career coming against either the west Londoners or the Merseysiders.
Drogba was tougher. Torres always created a chance to score, but Drogba was on you for the full game
The defender’s mistake to allow Torres to equalise in Liverpool’s 4-1 win at Old Trafford in March 2009 - a game Vidic was later sent off in - is best remembered by the Anfield faithful, while Drogba was famously dismissed for slapping the Serbian during the 2008 Champions League Final in Moscow.
Asked by FourFourTwo readers in the September 2016 issue of the magazine which of the two strikers he hated facing the most, the 34-year-old says:
“Drogba was tougher. Torres always created a chance to score, but Drogba was on you for the full game. People say: ‘You had a difficult game against Torres’, but it was just the one game. I went to head the ball but changed my mind and tried to pass to Edwin [van der Sar]. I misjudged the distance and Torres scored.”
And Vidic, who hung up his boots in January, also hailed the Ivorian powerhouse as the most imposing player he faced in the Premier League, adding: “Drogba was physically the hardest; [Luis] Suarez and [Sergio] Aguero were the best.
How would I deal with Diego Costa today? I’d deal with him like I did the others. You are what you are and I played my own game against everyone
“Drogba would be even better if he didn’t get so many injuries. They were the top three I played against.
“How would I deal with Diego Costa today? I’d deal with him like I did the others. You are what you are and I played my own game against everyone.”
Read the full One-on-One interview with Nemanja Vidic in the September 2016 issue of FourFourTwo. Accompanied by our 100-page Season Preview - rating 128 teams - the magazine features the 81 things we want from the new season, including interviews with Demarai Gray, Javi Martinez, Neymar, Roberto Firmino, Brendan Galloway, Kelechi Iheancaho, Glenn Murray, Alex Iwobi, David Wagner, Sheyi Ojo and Michail Antonio. Plus, we meet footballers' yes men - the player liaison officers who cater to the stars’ whims - and the Wiki geeks - the men who make it possible for fans to use Wikipedia for their football info - as well as asking do team talks matter? The answer might surprise you. Go get it, then subscribe!