Rio Ferdinand got into a Twitter dispute with John Terry on Thursday night after ranking the former Chelsea captain sixth among the greatest Premier League center-backs of all time.
Terry responded with an Instagram post that featured some of his career highlights and most outstanding statistics beside the phrase “numbers don’t lie.” Terry helped Chelsea win five Premier League titles.
Following accusations that he racially assaulted his brother Anton Ferdinand, Ferdinand replied by declaring that Terry was “fortunate” to make the list.
“It’s truly time to start addressing the fragile ego the moment one has to start pushing their own records and data,” Ferdinand wrote. “After the racist case with my brother, you’re lucky I even put you in the top 5, so be grateful you made it.”
Terry, who has always denied racially assaulting Anton Ferdinand, retorted, “A weak Ego is putting yourself first.” Thanks for putting me in your top 5.”
Ferdinand, a BT Sport pundit, had been debating the matter with Virgil van Dijk, the current Liverpool centre-back, and had included him in his top five among Nemanja Vidic, Jaap Stam, and Terry.
Terry responded with a series of graphs, including the number of times he has been named to the World XI, the captains with the most Premier League titles, and how his victory percent is higher than any other defender. “Opinions are great but stats don’t lie,” he wrote.
During a match between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers in 2011, Terry was accused of racially assaulting Anton Ferdinand.
Terry was found not guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence at Westminster Magistrates Court.
Terry had already lost his England captaincy and received a four-game suspension and a £220,000 Football Association fine after an independent FA tribunal found him guilty of using “abusive and/or insulting words and/or behavior” that “included a reference to the ethnic origin, color, and/or race of Anton Ferdinand.”
Terry also left international service in 2012, citing the FA’s decision to pursue the matter as making his position “untenable” on the international stage.
Rio Ferdinand praised Terry when talking about his top five Premier League center-backs. “In terms of his longevity at that club, what they won, body on the line, a far better footballer than people give him credit for, could play with both feet,” Ferdinand remarked.
Ferdinand was ranked first, followed by Vincent Kompany, Stam, Terry, and Sami Hyypia, according to Van Dijk’s personal all-time rankings.