SPORT
12/05/2014 21:19 BST | Updated 13/05/2014 07:59 BST

Rio Ferdinand To Leave Manchester United After 12 Years

Rio Ferdinand's Manchester United career is over after the club confirmed he will not be offered a new contract.

Ferdinand, 35, signed a one-year extension last year after an excellent 2012-13 campaign, however, like the majority of United's players under David Moyes, he has experienced a wretched season and made a relatively low 23 appearances.

He said:

"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.

"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 teammates, staff, the club & the fans for an unbelievable 12 yrs 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."

rio ferdinand

Ferdinand scored the winner in Sir Alex Ferguson's last career victory against Swansea

Interim manager Ryan Giggs said after United's final home game against Hull last week he had arranged for Ferdinand's last match at Old Trafford to be against Sunderland, when his children were mascots, three days earlier.

Yet following the tawdry manner of Moyes' dismissal last month, Ferdinand was apparently told he was being released by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in the away dressing room after United's final game of the season at Southampton on Sunday.

Others were, allegedly, "present at the time" and "expressed surprise" at Woodward's timing, according to the Mail.

Rio Ferdinand's United career

A £29.1 million signing from Leeds United in 2002, Ferdinand won six Premier League titles, two League Cups, the Champions League and the Club World Cup at Old Trafford.

That glittering haul did not help his relationship with Moyes, who showed the former England captain footage of Everton centre-back Phil Jagielka, suggesting Ferdinand model his game on a player who has won nothing.

Ferdinand was also the first United player to openly undermine Moyes when he said the Scot's belated team selections were "turning me into a madman".

And in March, Ferdinand's magazine, Five, ran a column titled "Time is running out for Moyes."