Manchester United star told by doctors that blood was being pumped the wrong way

In his book Rio: My Story – published this week – England defender Rio Ferdinand reveals that at the age of 21, medical tests showed that there was something wrong with his heart.

‘At the very least, I thought I’d have to give up football,’ he says. ‘My dreams were shattered and my mum nearly passed out.’

Rio, now 27, was petrified he was going to die. Doctors told him: ‘One side of my heart was an abnormal size and my blood was being pumped around in a different direction to most people’s.’

But despite this heart abnormality, Rio has not had any problems on the pitch and tries not to worry about his condition.

‘They said it shouldn’t affect me in live,’ he says, ‘and so far it hasn’t.’