Nemanja Vidic set for emotional Old Trafford farewell
Published 06/05/2014 | 08:29
Nemanja Vidic, the man described as Manchester United's "rock" for the last eight and a half years, will wave goodbye to Old Trafford on tonight.
With so much attention being placed on the expected appointment of Holland coach Louis van Gaal this week, the fact that Tuesday's game against Hull will be Vidic's last at Old Trafford seems to have passed most people by.
Vidic confirmed in March that he would leave United to join Inter Milan at the end of the season.
The Serb has been a fans' favourite at the club since he moved to England from Spartak Moscow for £7million on Christmas Day, 2005.
Vidic will take five Premier League winner's medals with him to Italy, as well as the one he gained for helping United lift the Champions League in 2008.
Although Vidic has not been the same player since rupturing cruciate ligaments during United's Champions League defeat to Basle in December 2011, he is still highly-regarded by fans, players and the coaching staff at Old Trafford.
"When you see a player like Nemanja Vidic is leaving this club you feel really sad," United left-back Patrice Evra said.
"I call him the rock. I am lucky to have played alongside him, for me he was a great centre-back."
Evra joined United in the same transfer window as Vidic.
Together the pair have shared many experiences both on the pitch and off it.
Evra who yet could join Vidic at Inter this summer, still regards the 32-year-old as one of the best centre-backs in the game.
But it has not all been plain sailing for the Serb, according to Evra.
"I remember our first game when we were in the reserves," the Frenchman said.
"It was so hard and we were so poor. (Reserve team coach) Rene (Meulensteen) was the manager and he substituted us both.
"We were talking together in the dressing room after and saying: 'Oh my god, why have we come to Manchester United?! We should go quickly back to our clubs!'. It was a difficult moment, but we stuck together.
"We've trained together and we've won the same trophies so losing Vida is painful."
The Hull game could be Evra's last at Old Trafford as well as he is yet to decide whether he will sign a contract extension.
It could also be Rio Ferdinand's final time on the Old Trafford turf as a Manchester United player.
Interim manager Ryan Giggs may be tempted to swap his suit for a red shirt given that he has not been assured he has a future at the club next year under Van Gaal - either as a coach or a player.
Van Gaal will meet the Eredivisie-based members of his Holland squad on Wednesday afternoon at a warm-up camp in Hoenderloo, about an hour's drive from Amsterdam.
That gives him sufficient time to fly over the North Sea and take in the United game on Tuesday, although there has not been any confirmation that will happen.
Giggs, meanwhile, confirmed star striker Wayne Rooney looks set to miss the Hull game because he is still struggling with the groin injury which kept him out of the loss to Sunderland.
The Welshman said: "Wayne is probably struggling for the game. He's not quite recovered. We'll continue to monitor him."
Rafael has overcome a thigh injury and could start his first game in a month, but Jonny Evans is out for the rest of the season with an unspecified injury Giggs added.