Rio Ferdinand thinks it is “crazy” that he has survived for a decade at Manchester United and has set his sights on extending his stay at Old Trafford by a further two years.
The 34-year-old defender, who signed a new 12-month deal earlier in the summer, will play in his testimonial against Sevilla on Friday.
Ferdinand became the most expensive player in United’s history when he joined from Leeds in 2002 for £30 million – but admitted he thought he might be moving on after a few seasons.
“I could see myself at a club for ten years which wasn’t as big and as prestigious as Manchester United,” he told the Mirror. “But to do it at Manchester United is just crazy to think about. I never believed it, I never even thought about it, if I’m honest. I thought I would be at United for a couple of years, maybe three or four, and then go abroad somewhere.
Instead, Ferdinand has gone on to make 430 United appearances, winning the Premier League six times and captaining the team in the 2008 Champions League final victory.
And he added: “I just fell in love with Manchester United. I fell in love with winning, fell in love with the history of the club and being part of it was something I could never have imagined.
“The pull of staying at Manchester United and being part of the success has probably got stronger as the years have gone by.”
Ferdinand has had back and calf problems in the second half of his career but was a regular in United’s title-winning side last season and was voted into the PFA Team of the Year.
He said: “My ambition now is just to keep playing. I want to keep playing for as long as possible. For the past two seasons I think I’ve been available for 90 per cent of the games and I want to maintain that, and add silverware.
“When you get older, you appreciate it a bit more. You realise that the tunnel is coming to an end. Even driving into Carrington every morning, you feel yourself looking around and thinking, ‘I don’t know how long this will go on for.’
“The quality of the surroundings that you’re in at the training ground and Old Trafford, you look around and you take things in a bit more. Hopefully, I can do it for a couple more years.”