Rio Ferdinand is to leave Manchester United in the summer after the club chose not to renew his contract.
The 35-year-old centre-back won 14 trophies -barring United’s FA Cup victory in 2004; League Cup and Community Shield in 2010-and scored eight goals in 455 appearances.
His departure terminates a 12-year long relationship with the ‘Red Devils’.
“After 12 fantastic years, I have decided the time is right for me to move on,” Ferdinand said.
The ex-England international centre-back made his last appearance for the Old Trafford outfit in the 1-1 draw at Southampton in the final game of the season on Sunday.
He is reportedly understood to be nursing the intention of playing on, but yet to reveal his next club.
United are believed to have told Ferdinand to come back and be a ‘Club Legend’, just as many other great products of the club who have assumed ambassadorial roles post-exit.
“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 club.
“I am feeling fit and healthy, ready for a new challenge and looking forward to whatever the future holds for me.”
Ferdinand joined United from Leeds for the then Premier League record of £30m. He initially struggled to seal his place in the team starting eleven, but eventually became a key part of the side that won the 2002/03 league title.
He received an eight-month ban after being found guilty of missing a drug test in September 2003 and waited until the following year to return.
He soon established himself again as one of the backbones of United defence while helping the side clinch the 2006/07 championship and defended it the following season- same season he captained the team to an European Champions League victory over Chelsea (via penalties) in Moscow.
He has won six Premier League titles in total, two League Cups, four Community Shields, One Champions League and World Club Cup.
His lasts league winner’s medal came in 2012/13 season, when he also earned a place in the PFA Team of the Year.
His performance that season led United to reward him with a new one-year contract extension, keeping him at the club until this July.