Ferdinand was recognized as a footballing talent even as a child. As a young boy, he regularly featured in local youth teams as an attacking midfielder, finally making his way into the English Youth Team squad at the age of 16 and earning his first full English cap at 19 years old. He eventually went on to be capped 81 times and scored three goals for his country in international championships. His club career, which started from West Ham, took him to A-division clubs like Leeds and Manchester United before he finally retired from his professional football career in May 2015, as a team member of Queens Park Rangers. He transferred to Leeds United in 2000 for a record-breaking sum of £18million. Two years later, he broke the record again when he joined Manchester United for around £30 million.
Ferdinand's girlfriend Rebecca Ellison gave birth to their first son in 2006. Elison and Ferdinand finally married in 2009 and, the couple had two more children. He unsuccessfully sued the Sunday Mirror in 2010 to prevent the publication of his alleged affair with Carly Storey. Ellison died of breast cancer in 2015. Ferdinand has co-authored a memoir of his wife's struggle with cancer in his memoir “Thinking Out Loud.” In early 2017 he started dating Kate Wright.
His long footballing career has made Ferdinand a wealthy person, with a net worth of $75million (£55.3million). Apart from working as a commentator, he runs the Rio Ferdinand Live the Dream Foundation, a result of his harsh experiences growing up in Peckham, which aims to nurture young people from deprived communities and help them gain a foothold in sports and entertainment industries.