Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Questions over 'Moving Home' Alibi of Star with a Wild Streak

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Questions over 'Moving Home' Alibi of Star with a Wild Streak

Article excerpt

Byline: PATRICK SAWER

THERE is one unanswered but crucial question hanging over the mystery of why Rio Ferdinand Rio Ferdinand missed his important drug test.

Was Ferdinand really so preoccupied with moving to his new [pounds sterling]2million home that he simply forgot to attend? Or does our page one picture of him shopping on the day he should have taken the test undermine his alibi?

Ferdinand found the seven-bedroom property in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, in June, when he viewed it with his longstanding girlfriend Rebecca Ellis, 23.

At the time they were living in nearby Wilmslow, in a [pounds sterling]1.5million rented property. His new house, close to David and Victoria Beckham's former home, lies behind large wooden security gates and features a balcony stretching alongside one side, its own courtyard and swimming pool.

It is not yet clear whether the star did move home on 23 September, when he should have been giving a sample at Manchester United's training ground.

But what is certain is that the property is a long way from the neat council flat on the rundown Friary estate in Peckham where the young Rio was raised.

The contrast provides a stark metaphor for the two sides of Ferdinand's character: he is England's most expensive player - whose skill has made him a [pounds sterling]30 million rock at the heart of defence - but he is a young man fond of the high life who admits he has been known to enjoy himself "too much".

Now his life is in danger of becoming like the worst football cliche: rescued from deprivation by talent, he is showered with money and becomes a national hero - only to risk throwing it all away. Ferdinand said recently: "The public perception of me was that I wasn't as professional as I could have been.

People were always saying to me I was going out too much and I'd just ignore them." Former West Ham manager Harry Redknapp warned Ferdinand he was not taking his footballing "seriously enough".

In 1997, he was caught drink-driving after celebrating his selection for the England squad. The result: banned from driving for a year, fined [pounds sterling]500 and dropped from the squad. …

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