Rio Ferdinand touched referee on the face during overexcited Man Utd celebration

Rio Ferdinand once gave a playful slap to a referee's face during an excited Manchester United celebration.

Ferdinand was part of the United team who thrashed West Ham 6-0 at Old Trafford in the 2003 FA Cup fifth round. And when the Red Devils scored their fourth goal in the 50th minuted courtesy of Phil Neville's rare left-footed goal, Ferdinand was so delighted he playfully slapped referee Steve Bennett whilst celebrating.

The retired defender, who had blonde hair at the time, leapt over team-mate Ruud Van Nistelrooy and a host of others to jovially slap Bennett on the cheek. However, Bennett didn't seem to mind as Ferdinand wasn't punished for the outlandish celebration.

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Ferdinand was given a few more reasons to celebrate in the match when United bagged another two goals to complete the rout over the Hammers. It was an eventful debut season at the Theatre Of Dreams for the slap-happy Ferdinand.

He became the most expensive British footballer in history at the time when United splashed around £30million to bring him in from Leeds. Most fans will remember the occasion for the infamous white suit that he wore to sign the deal which even left then-United boss Sir Alex Ferguson stunned.

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Reliving the moment, Ferdinand recalled Fergie's reaction in a previous interview with 433. He mused: "The manager said to me on this day, he said 'Rio, what the f*** are you wearing?'

"He said to my mum 'what is he… what is this suit? Is he for real with this suit?' But I didn't care. I always wear what I want, I don't care anyway."

Ferdinand got physical on another occasion in the 2002/03 season when he was booked for shoving Bayer Leverkusen ace Thomas Brdaric in a Champions League clash. However, Ferdinand was adamant that he didn't touch the striker and insisted he didn't deserve to be booked as the opposition star was "acting."


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