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Rio Ferdinand to leave Manchester United

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Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is set to leave the club after 12 years at Old Trafford.

The central defender joined United in August 2002 after moving from Leeds United for a then British record transfer fee of £30 million.

With his contract set to expire at the end of the season Ferdinand has decided not to extend it.

"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 posted on his official Facebook page.

"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."

The 35-year-old made 454 appearances for United, winning six Premier League titles, the 2008 UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup, two League Cups and five Charity/Community Shields.

Ferdinand struggled to become a regular in the United team this season making only 14 appearances with his last game being the final game of the season against Southampton away on the weekend which ended in 1-1 draw.

The former England international will be seen on the television this summer as he is part of the BBC punditry team that will be at the World Cup in Brazil.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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