BA PEOPLE • April 2019
From playing football on the estates of Peckham, London, to captaining the national team, Rio Ferdinand’s career has taken him all over the world. Turning his sights to coaching at Cyprus’s latest luxury resort, the football star opens up to talk about Greek island romance, London’s best people-watching and more
The Algarve is like my second home
Portugal is beautiful, especially the south (pictured below). The views are great, but it’s all about the food – for an extravagant night out with great scenery, it has to be Parilla – what a restaurant. Make sure to order the fillet steak, bife de lomo.
As a footballer, I wasn’t allowed to ski
The chance of injury is too high, so it’s totally forbidden. Now that I can do it, it’s top of my travel bucket list. I’ve actually been on the lookout for a place to ski this year with the family. Also, a safari. I’d love to go on safari somewhere in Africa.
See why Rio loves the Algarve at Praia da Marinha, home to the region's most iconic rock formations
I’m a born-and-bred Londoner…
… and there’s no place like home. If you’re in the city, go to The Dorchester. Also, rustic Italian restaurant Rocca, in South Kensington, for dinner. If you’re after that little bit of history, that bit of upper crust, head for Scott’s on Mount Street – ask for a table outside and watch the world go by.
The Ferdinands love the UAE
Abu Dhabi or Dubai (pictured below) are always winners when it comes to our holidays. Both destinations take really good care of families, especially the service in the big hotels – the St Regis Abu Dhabi is especially great. There’s also guaranteed sun, which is always important, coming from England.
But for romance…
… you can’t go wrong in Mykonos (pictured top of page). My fiancée and I took a trip there last year and the island sets the scene for romance. Whether you’re a couple wanting to chill or party – or both – it has everything you could want.
If you’re willing to travel for the ultimate football fantasy…
… then Football Escapes, who I coach for, are really worth checking out. They run football coaching courses at only the very best resorts around the world, from Quinta Do Lago in Portugal to Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai. Kids have the opportunity to learn new skills from proper players, with all the perks of an amazing holiday.
Come and say hello in Cyprus
At the just-opened Parklane, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa in Cyprus, I helped set up the sports facilities ready for Football Escapes’ latest academy, where I’ll be coaching exclusive sessions during the summer holidays. It’s an incredible resort – you can eat world-class food and pop to the beach the whole time you’re there.
Hop on a London bus and spy the capital's finest monuments along the way
What does being British mean to me?
It means a breakfast fry-up at a traditional ‘greasy spoon’ café. It means stopping at Buckingham Palace on of one London’s iconic red buses (pictured above). And while you're there, make sure to try one of the East End pie and mash shops, and watch a show at the theatre.
British Airways knows how to look after people
I’ve travelled with BA for a while now, and my family and I always feel well looked after whenever we’ve flown. The service in that respect has always been good. I collect Avios from booking flights on ba.com, but I couldn’t tell you how many I have. Maybe I should take a look at that… and book a reward flight out to Cyprus!
Interview by Hannah Ralph
The first football academy at Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa will run in May half-term, then throughout the summer holidays, and in October half-term.