Rio Ferdinand accused former England team-mate John Terry of having a “fragile ego” after he took exception to a seemingly innocuous list of all-time greatest Premier League centre-backs.
Manchester United great Ferdinand listed himself first and Chelsea legend Terry fifth during an interview with Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.
Ferdinand had his former United centre-back partner Nemanja Vidic second, with both Van Dijk and Jaap Stam ahead of Terry.
The BT Sport pundit said of Terry: “In terms of his longevity at that club, what they won, body on the line, a much better footballer than people give him credit for, could play off his left and right foot.”
Terry was seemingly unimpressed by Ferdinand’s assessment, though, and took to Instagram to showcase his list of achievements and writing: “Opinions are great but stats don’t lie…”
The spat was then taken to Twitter, with Ferdinand making reference to Terry being accused of using racist language towards his brother Anton in 2011.
Terry was found not guilty in court, though he did serve a four-match ban and was fined £200,000 by the Football Association, who deemed he had used “abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour” which “included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Anton Ferdinand”.
In his post Ferdinand wrote: “@JohnTerry26 The moment one has to start pushing their own records and stats it’s really time to start addressing the fragile ego.
“Your (sic) lucky I even put you in the top 5 after the racism case with my brother so be thankful you made it.”
Terry took his own shot back, writing in reply: “A fragile Ego is putting yourself at Number 1 @rioferdy5. Thanks for putting me in your top 5.”
A fragile Ego is putting yourself at Number 1 @rioferdy5
Thanks for putting me in your top 5
— John Terry (@JohnTerry26) May 26, 2022
When accused of ignoring Ferdinand’s point on the racism allegations by another user, Terry replied: “Stats don’t lie: not guilty. Addressed it, now what?”
Ferdinand was a six-time Premier League winner with United, while he also lifted the Champions League, Club World Cup, and EFL Cup twice.
Terry’s list of achievements with the Blues included five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and three EFL Cups. He also has winners’ medals in the Champions League and Europa League, though he did not play in either of Chelsea’s winning finals in 2012 and 2013.