Rio Ferdinand announces retirement from football

36-year-old won six Premier League titles, the FA Cup and European Cup with Man Utd

Rio Ferdinand has announced his retirement from football. Photograph: PA

Rio Ferdinand has announced his retirement from football. Photograph: PA

 

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

The former West Ham, Leeds and Manchester United central defender spent last season at QPR, who were relegated from the Barclays 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 on BT Sport: “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.

“After 18 years as a professional footballer I now feel it’s the right time for me to retire from the game that I love.

“As a 12-year-old boy, kicking around a football on the Friary Estate in Peckham, I never dreamt that I would play for my boyhood club West Ham, captain Leeds United, win the Champions League with Manchester United, or re-join my first manager Harry Redknapp at Queens Park Rangers.

“I will always regard the 81 times that I played for England, with immense pride. These are all treasured memories that will last a lifetime. I’d like to thank Chris Ramsey, Harry Redknapp, David O’Leary and David Moyes who managed me at various times in my career, all the backroom staff who looked after me over the years, and the players that I played with. I’d would also like to thank the team who managed me off the pitch, Jamie Moralee and everybody at New Era.”

“I’d also like to thank and pay tribute to my late wife Rebecca and my family, including my mother and father, for their sacrifices, their encouragement and their advice throughout my career,” added Ferdinand.

“And finally, I’d like to thank all the fans from all the clubs, for without them professional football would not exist. I will miss each and every one of you on my Saturday afternoons.”

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 (€25m) transfer to Leeds in 2000.

He subsequently moved across the Pennines to join Manchester United for £29.1million (€40m), which at the time of the deal in July 2002 was a world record fee for a defender.

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