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Rio Ferdinand’s 12-year career with Manchester United is over.

Central defender Ferdinand has been told by United’s executive vice chairman Ed Woodward that the club would not be extending the one-year deal that expires this summer.Although the news was expected with Ferdinand approaching his 36th birthday in November and hampered by a back problem in recnet years, the way he was told by Woodward in the dressing room following the final game of the season at Southampton has raised eyebrows.Ferdinand told teammates on the flight back from the 1-1 draw with Southampton that it had been the 456th and final game of his United career and asked them to sign a match ball as a memento.

Ferdinand revealed last week that he wants to continue his playing career – and hoped it would be with United. But he has offers on the table from the US, China and the Middle East and will now weigh up his options.

He flew out to Singapore yesterday for a sponsor’s event but a spokesman for him said: “Rio intends to carry on playing football.” His departure continues the break-up of Untied’s long-standing back four with Nemanja Vidic leaving for Inter Milan and Patrice Evra set to return to France.

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