Ferguson expects Rio to sign on

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson jokes with Rio Ferdinand during a training session at Carrington. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson jokes with Rio Ferdinand during a training session at Carrington. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Sat, Mar 2, 2013, 00:00

Soccer: Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson believes Rio Ferdinand will be the next long-serving member of his squad to sign a contract extension.

Ryan Giggs signed a new one-year deal on Friday and Ferguson is confident Ferdinand will also remain at Old Trafford even though the 34-year-old centre-back has yet to commit himself, amid rumours of interest from the US, China and the cash-rich Far East.

When asked if Ferdinand would sign a new deal, Ferguson replied: "That is a strong possibility. It would have to happen before the end of the season."

Ferdinand is managing a long-standing back complaint but has still produced some impressive performances for United this term.

"I think he has had a great season," said Ferguson. "He has managed himself the right way and we have contributed to that in the preparation we give him. He doesn't play every game in the same way that Ryan doesn't play every game. But in terms of key matches he has been absolutely brilliant. Two weeks ago, against Real Madrid, he was excellent so we need to get him ready for the big one on Tuesday."

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