Tuesday 13 May 2014
Rio Ferdinand has announced that he will leave Manchester United this summer after a glittering 12-year career at Old Trafford.
The 35-year-old defender joined United in 2002 from Leeds United and made 312 Barclays Premier League appearances, scoring seven goals, and winning six League titles in 2002/03, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2010/11 and 2012/13 He also won one UEFA Champions League medal, two League Cups and a Club World Cup.
"Winning trophies I dreamed about as a kid came true at this great club"
"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," Ferdinand said in a statement on the club website.
"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 [when United beat Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League final in 2008] are memories that I will cherish forever.”
Ferdinand, who also made 127 appearances for West Ham United in the Barclays Premier League between 1995 and 2000 and 54 for Leeds United over two seasons, made his final Man Utd appearance in Sunday's season-ending 1-1 draw against Southampton.
"Circumstances didn't allow for me to say goodbye the way I would have liked but I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my team-mates, staff, the club and the fans for an unbelievable 12 years that I'll never forget," said Ferdinand, who this year became an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust. "Winning trophies I dreamed about as a kid came true at this great club.
"I am feeling fit and healthy, ready for a new challenge and looking forward to whatever the future holds for me."
Ferdinand is not the only central defender to announce his departure from Old Trafford, following the decision of Nemanja Vidic to leave the club this summer also, joining Inter Milan.