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Rio Ferdinand retires from football

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Former Manchester United and England captain Rio Ferdinand has announced his retirement from football following his release from Queens Park Rangers.

The 36 year old read a statement out on BT Sport, admitting that it was “the right time” to retire from the game. He also paid tribute to his recently deceased wife Rebecca Ellison following her battle with cancer.

“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.”



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Rio Ferdinand began his career at West Ham United under manager Harry Redknapp, and spent spent a short spell of ten games on loan at Bournemouth, making ten appearances. On his return to the Hammers, Ferdinand made a total of 127 appearances over four years.

Whilst at the Hammers, Ferdinand also became England’s youngest ever player to play for national side when he made his debut shortly after his 19th birthday against Cameroon.

In 2000, Leeds United manager David O’Leary signed Ferdinand for £18 million, breaking the leagues record transfer. After his first season at Elland Road, Ferdinand became the clubs captain, but was sold to Manchester United the following season due to the club’s financial troubles.

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Ferdinand then broke the transfer record again when Manchester United signed him for £30 million in 2002. In his first season at Old Trafford, Ferdinand won the Premier League, his first of six with the Red Devil’s.

But in September the following year, Ferdinand missed a drugs test, which saw the defender suspended for eight months from January 2004. He missed his side’s F.A Cup win and England’s European Championship campaign. Upon his return, Ferdinand featured in the PFA Team of the Year for four seasons from five.

Whilst at Old Trafford, he also won one F.A Cup, three League Cups, six Community Shields, one Champions League and one Super Cup, amongst many individual accolades, making well over 300 appearances at Old Trafford.

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Ferdinand is England’s second ever highest capped defender, behind Ashley Cole, having made 81 appearances for his country. Ferdinand was named in three World Cup squads, and following Fabio Capello’s decision to award him the captaincy in 2010, he was due to lead his country out at the World Cup in South Africa. But injury saw the defender sidelined, and the captaincy was given to John Terry two years later.

Ferdinand was released from Manchester United in 2014, and his former manager Harry Redknapp signed the defender at QPR. But having not played since March due to injuries and personal reasons, he was unable to help his side avoid relegation to the Championship.

rio ferdinand

About Dale Ventham

Dale Ventham is an editor at The Sports Lowdown. He writes on the lower leagues of English football and Speedway in particular.
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