Updated: Friday, 24th November 2017 @ 8:08am

Worst eight months of my life: Drugs ban was 'lowest point' of Rio Ferdinand's Manchester United career

Worst eight months of my life: Drugs ban was 'lowest point' of Rio Ferdinand's Manchester United career

By Dean Wilkins

Rio Ferdinand has admitted that his eight-month ban for not attending a drugs test was the ‘lowest point’ of his Manchester United career.

The 34-year-old former England captain was banned for missing a routine test in 2003 and has strongly denied any wrongdoing – but insisted that he was irresponsible for not appearing.

Rumours that the centreback was attempting to conceal hidden substances circled, and watching as his reputation was tarnished was a difficult pill to swallow.

"Eight months of my career just gone, just like that,” he told Four Four Two magazine. “It was easily the lowest point of my career, especially as I knew people were trying to tarnish my name by saying I was into drugs.

"That's the most disappointing thing for me – people assumed I was involved in drugs or had something to hide."

Ferdinand missed the test in September 2003 after claiming he had forgotten about it due to moving house – he was slapped with an eight-month ban in January 2004 by the FA and FIFA.

The punishment ruled him out of Euro 2004 and forced him to alter his ways if he was to become a great of the game.

He said: "If that sort of thing can't make you more responsible then I don't know what can.

"People assume I must have had something to hide but I did all the tests that were asked in the end and the judge said I had proved beyond any doubt I had nothing in my system – those tests trace stuff from months back.

"So I never had any doubt in my mind, it was just irresponsible of me not to go to the test at the time and I got punished severely for it.”

Ferdinand has since gone on to become one of the club’s most successful defenders, lifting five Premier League trophies, the Champions League and numerous individual honours.

Picture courtesy of Wiki Commons, with thanks

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