Rio Ferdinand says he will never forget the moment he was removed from the England team at the World Cup.
The ex-England captain and former captain of Manchester United says the media has been ‘trying to shame me into silence’.
Read moreRead moreRio is referring to the way he was branded as ‘a racist’ and the fact that he was not allowed to play for his country after the World War II.’
I was never a racist, I have no doubt in my mind.
But I never thought I was a racist.
I was not treated unfairly, I never wanted to be treated unfairly,’ he said.’
There was never any malice behind the way they treated me.
I thought the only way to get my game back was to fight for my country and my country’s cause.
I never considered myself a racist.’
In his first interview since the incident, the 38-year-old said he has had to ‘fight back’ to make amends for the racism he experienced at the tournament.
‘I had no choice.
It wasn’t an easy thing for me to go and play for England,’ he added.’
But the more I spoke to my family, the more the pressure built on me to get back into the team.’
Ferdinand, who was in a wheelchair, was removed during a meeting at the England squad hotel.
The former Manchester United midfielder said he was ‘disappointed’ by the decision.’
You see the media constantly trying to shame us into silence.
That is absolutely wrong,’ he told ITV News.’
We will never forgive them.
We will never be intimidated by them.
That’s the message we’re trying to get across.
We’ll never be afraid to speak up, but we will never accept it.
‘But we’ll never give up, we will always fight back.
It’s what we’re supposed to do, fight back.’
Fermento, who is in the process of making a comeback to the England side for the 2018 World Cup, said he does not regret his comments and would ‘never’ have done them if they were being made in the UK.
‘We are a nation of racists, we are a racist nation.
If I was in Australia I would probably go and have a racist conversation with my mum and tell her what a horrible country she is,’ he continued.’
This was not a stupid decision, this was the only right thing to do at the time.’
It was a big mistake, it cost me my career, it has affected my life and it will affect mine for the rest of my life.’
So I will never, ever, ever regret what I said or did.
If it was my job, I would have done it the same way.’
Ferdens latest comments come after he claimed he had ‘no intention of retiring’ from international football and was determined to keep playing.’
No, no, I won’t retire,’ he responded.
‘If there is an opportunity, I will take it, I am not going to retire.
If there is a team that is interested, I’ll be the first to say hello to them and they will be the last to say goodbye to me.’
Ferdinand said he will continue to represent England at the 2018 tournament.