Ferdinand to leave Man Utd

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is to leave the club after 12 years, after it was decided that he would not be offered a contract extension, the Guardian has reported.

The former England international follows former centre-back partner Nemanja Vidic out of Old Trafford, with the Serb heading to Inter. Ferdinand, 35, is also keen to continue his playing career for at least one more season, whether it be in the Premier League or elsewhere, as offers are expected from the United States, China and the United Arab Emirates.

During his 12 years at Man Utd, Ferdinand has helped them win the Premier League on six occasions, the FA Cup in 2004 and the Champions League in 2008 among other trophies. In his final season he made 23 appearances, and his lack of pace was sometimes exposed.

Despite that, he is still regarded by many as one of the best defenders of the Premier League era, and on Monday he released a statement on Man Utd’s official website which read: “I have thought long and hard over the last few months about my future and after 12 fantastic years playing for what I regard as the best club in the world I have decided the time is right for me to move on.

“I joined Manchester United in the hope of winning trophies and never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how successful we would be during my time here.

“There have been so many highlights, playing alongside some great players who have become good friends, winning my first Premier League title and also that fantastic night in Moscow are memories that I will cherish forever.’

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