Rio Ferdinand set for Manchester United exit after being told he will not be offered new contract (Report)
The former England defender has played his last game for the Red Devils after 12 very successful years at Old Trafford.
According to a report on the Daily Mail website this evening, Ferdinand was told by Chief Executive Ed Woodward that he would not be offered a new deal in the aftermath of United’s 1-1 draw with Southampton yesterday, where Ferdinand lined out alongside Nemanja Vidic, who will also be leaving the club ahead of a move to Inter Milan next season.
Woodward is reported to have told Ferdinand of his decision in the away dressing room at St. Mary’s, a decision which is said to have surprised several people who were present at the time. He reportedly told his teammates the news on the flight back from Southampton to Manchester yesterday and is said to have asked all of his teammates to sign a match ball as a memento of his final game for the club.
Ferdinand confirmed the news in a statement on his website this evening 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.
"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. 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, who turns 36 later this year, had recently expressed his desire to continue playing football, preferably at United, and it is thought that he has already offers from the MLS and from the Middle East.
The former West Ham and Leeds United defender made 455 appearances for the Red Devils and amassed quite an amount of medals during his time at Old Trafford, winning the Premier League six times, the League Cup twice and the Champions League and FIFA World Club Cup in 2008.
The news doesn't come as a huge surprise considering the expected overhaul of the Manchester United squad in the summer and with the future of Patrice Evra also in doubt, Ferdinand might not be the last of the old guard to leave the club before the start of next season.