‘I grew up in a war zone. I know how lucky I am’ Nemanja Vidic

You expect arrogance from the captain of Manchester United, Nemanja Vidic, a lavishly paid football star and one of the best defenders in the world. But you don’t get it. ‘Am I late? Five minutes. I’m very sorry. Here I am.’ Vidic arrives in a massive Mercedes SUV with tinted windows, of the sort that usually has secret service agents in the front, but he’s on his own. ‘Call me Vida, as they do at the club. It’s better than Nemanja.’ He grimaces, having deliberately pronounced his own name the wrong way, to rhyme with ganja. ‘It should be Neh-man-ya. So I say, Vida!’

It’s quickly obvious that he’s no Premier League prima donna – despite recently being named Premier League Player of the Year for the second time – but then Vidic was not raised in a rarefied atmosphere. He grew up in a war zone, back home in Serbia. His home town was bombarded and he only managed to escape being drafted into the army because he played for Red Star Belgrade, a source of national pride. ‘It was hard,’ he says. ‘Maybe it is because life was hard that I am here. I have fought to be in this position, to play for such a big club and be recognised. If everything had gone easily, maybe it would not have worked out like this.’ Read the rest of it here.

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