Football: Rio Ferdinand plans for life after Manchester United

Rio Ferdinand (right) and his long-time defensive partner Nemanja Vidic have played their last games for Manchester United.
Rio Ferdinand (right) and his long-time defensive partner Nemanja Vidic have played their last games for Manchester United.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

As Rio Ferdinand touched down at Changi Airport yesterday, the biggest question surrounded his next destination.

The former England star announced on Monday night that he would be leaving Manchester United after 12 years, during which time he won six league titles, two League Cups, one Champions League and a Club World Cup.

With no desire to retire, the 35-year-old with 81 caps for England will weigh up a series of offers.

Ferdinand, who will be a BBC pundit for the World Cup, is thought to have offers from Besiktas and Galatasaray in Turkey, LA Galaxy in United States' Major League Soccer and Al Gharafa in Qatar, and is likely to attract attention from other English Premier League clubs.

"I am feeling fit and healthy, ready for a new challenge and looking forward to whatever the future holds for me," Ferdinand stated on his website, #5, on Monday.

He made 454 appearances for United, scoring eight goals, following his then British record £30 million (S$63 million) transfer from Leeds in 2002.

But his United career ended in curious circumstances.

It is understood that Ferdinand - limited to 14 Premier League appearances last season - was informed in the dressing room after United's final league match away to Southampton that he would not be offered a new contract.

As such, he follows Nemanja Vidic, his long-standing central-defensive partner, out of Old Trafford ahead of a summer of rebuilding for the club.

"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," added Ferdinand.

As part of the continuing changes at United, the club yesterday terminated the contracts of coaches Phil Neville and Chris Woods.

Their departures will clear the way for Louis van Gaal, set to be confirmed as the new United manager this week, to make his own backroom appointments.

Patrice Evra, the France left-back, could be the next to go, with United in pole position to complete the £27 million signing of Luke Shaw, the Southampton and England defender, before the World Cup begins next month.

Ferdinand's immediate task is to take on Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero over the next two days in the SingTel Game On! Ultimate Selfie challenge.

The players will take selfies of themselves while engaging in four activities - learning Singlish, practising tai chi, sampling hawker food and playing football.

These selfies will be uploaded on Twitter and the player with the most retweets will win.