Rio Ferdinand plans to retire after this season

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After nearly twenty years of patrolling back lines across England, Rio Ferdinand plans on retiring at the end of this season.

Currently on a one-year deal at Queens Park Rangers, Ferdinand made a name for himself as a center back for West Ham and Leeds United in the early 2000’s. His play caught the eye of Sir Alex Ferguson, who brought the defender to Manchester United, where he would stay for twelve years.

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Ferdinand developed into one of the best defenders in the Premier League, teaming with Nemanja Vidic to form the most feared defensive tandem in England. He captured six Premier League titles, an FA Cup and a Champions League title during his time in Manchester, where he was named to the PFA Team of the Year six times.

Now 35 years old, Ferdinand said it is the right time to step away from the game.

You get to a time where you start understanding your body and the strains playing football (is) putting your body through, going out and training every day.

I’ve done it for so many years, it’s what I love. I will stay in football I’m sure in some capacity. I’ve signed to BT and stuff and I’ve done stuff with the BBC at the World Cup which I really enjoyed and it’s something I’m sure I will take up and do a bit more [of].

I’m doing my [coaching] badges as well and there are other bits and pieces outside of football.”

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He also enjoyed a long career for the England national team, earning 81 caps over fourteen years for the Three Lions. He made his first appearance for England in 1997 as a 19-year-old, and eventually captained the side under Fabio Capello.

Ferdinand was named to four consecutive World Cup squads for England, although he did not feature in 1998 and missed out in 2010 through injury.