Rio Gavin Ferdinand (born 7 November 1978) is an English former professional footballer who played as a centre-back. He played 81 times for the England national football team between 1997 and 2011, and was a member of three FIFA World Cup squads. He is regarded by many to be one of England’s greatest ever players and he is one of the most decorated English footballers of all time. Ferdinand began his football career playing for various youth teams, finally settling at West Ham United where he progressed through the youth ranks and made his professional Premier League debut in 1996. He became a fan favourite, winning the ‘Hammer of the Year award’ the following season. He earned his first senior international cap in a match against Cameroon in 1997, setting a record as the youngest defender to play for England at the time. His achievements and footballing potential attracted Leeds United and he transferred to the club for a record-breaking fee of £18 million. He spent two seasons at the club, becoming the team captain in 2001. Ferdinand grew up in the Friary council estate, Peckham. He has several brothers and sisters: one brother and three sisters on his father’s side and a brother and sister from his mother’s remarriage. His brother, Anton Ferdinand, is also a defender who now plays for Championship club Reading, while former England striker Les Ferdinand and Peterborough United midfielder Kane Ferdinand are his cousins. Although he spent the majority of his career with Manchester United, he grew up supporting rivals Liverpool. In 2006 in Manchester, Ferdinand’s girlfriend Rebecca Ellison gave birth to their first son. The couple had two more children. In 2010, Ferdinand unsuccessfully sued the Sunday Mirror to prevent the publication of a story about an alleged affair with Carly Storey. During the case, it was alleged that then-England captain Ferdinand had affairs with 10 different women.