English football legend Rio Ferdinand has admitted he enjoyed boozing so much as a youngster he would go on benders and drink 10 pints of Guinness before hitting the vodkas.
The Manchester United, Leeds and West Ham icon has revealed he was part of a major drinking culture early in his career which saw him juggle football with nights out partying, The Sun reports.
Former Red Devils and England captain Ferdinand played 81 times for his country and was regarded as one of the best defenders in world football.
But he confesses there was a time he behaved “like a lunatic” as he downed pints and vodka for fun.
In an interview with The Guardian, Ferdinand, 40 — who came through the ranks at the Hammers — said: “I used to go through a load when I was younger.
“I could probably do eight, nine, 10. Then I’d move on to the vodkas.
“I could go through loads. I could go all day drinking, then wake up and go again when I was younger.
“I always say to people who ask if I have any regrets about playing, I wouldn’t have drunk alcohol.
“When I was younger I did. I was a lunatic. When I was at West Ham, elements of my career are a blur.
“People talk about performances and results at certain times in them games and I just sit and nod my head. I haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about. I don’t remember.
“Saturday or Sunday. It was a different culture. Crazy. The culture I was in at West Ham was a drinking culture.
“Football and drinks and nightclubs, that’s the way it was. And that’s the way I lived at that time.”
By the time Ferdinand made his record-breaking move from Leeds to Manchester United in 2002 for $54 million, he had started to pull back from the abyss and largely cut out alcohol during the season.
But he would still cut loose during the off-season with lengthy benders.
Ferdinand, who won six league titles with United, added: “In the summers I’d drink for two weeks. Bang. Just keep drinking.
“Yes. I was lucky. I had a natural ability that could get me through that period of my life.
“But I got to a point where I had to make a decision to be more professional.”
This story first appeared in The Sun and is republished with permission.