Rio Ferdinand announces retirement from football

Sport360 staff 06:18 31/05/2015
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Difficult season: Ferdinand.

Former England captain Rio Ferdinand has announced his retirement from football.

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The former West Ham, Leeds and Manchester United central defender spent last season at QPR, who were relegated from the Premier League.

Ferdinand, 36, told BT Sport he had decided to bring an end to his career. The confirmation came after a season in which Ferdinand struggled to hold down a regular place in the QPR side.

Ferdinand was absent for the closing stages of the campaign. His wife, Rebecca Ellison, died after a battle with cancer on May 1.

Ferdinand said: “This season I really found out that it was time to hang the boots up and get back in the house and watch other people play the game.”

Former United and England team-mate Paul Scholes said of Ferdinand: “He was a great player, without a doubt the best centre-half I ever played with.

“I would say for a time as well he was the best centre-half in the world. He was such a pleasure to play with and play in front of. To play in front of him, he made your job so easy.”

Ferdinand began his career at West Ham, and made his England debut at the age of 19 in 1997, before leaving in an £18million (Dh101m) transfer to Leeds in 2000.

He subsequently joined Manchester United for £29.1million (Dh163m), which at the time of the deal in July 2002 was a world record fee for a defender.

Michael Owen, who played with Ferdinand at Old Trafford and was a long-standing former international team-mate, said: “What a player he was, absolute Rolls Royce.”

Ferdinand hailed the “genius” of Sir Alex Ferguson, under whom he won six Premier League titles at Manchester United.

In a statement, he said: “Winning trophies over my 13 years at Manchester United allowed me to achieve everything that I desired in football. From a young child to today, that was all I cared about.

“None of that would have been possible, without the genius of one man, Sir Alex Ferguson. His greatest accomplishment in my eyes will always be how he developed us as men, not just as footballers.

“He will in my opinion, always be the greatest manager in British football history

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