After retiring from international football could Rio Ferdinand now move to areas more exotic to play his football?
The news many of else felt would have been coming for a while has finally arrived; Rio Ferdinand has retired from international football.
If the writing was not on the wall after Roy Hodgson originally snubbed Rio then it was certainly highlighted and underlined when Rio returned the favour during England’s hour of need; choosing instead to travel to the Middle East and act pundit alongside Phillip Neville for Al-Jazeera television.
The fact is Rio Ferdinand’s England career has looked doomed ever since John Terry was seen uttering whatever those words were to his little brother Anton. Yet this season Rio has finally proved that when it comes to quality he is head and shoulders above the ramshackle ‘old-fashioned’ defender that John Terry is.
Ferdinand is more cultured; he is faster; he is more poised and even reads the game better than the Chelsea talisman. Simply put; Ferdinand is just a better player and he fully warranted his place in the PFA Team of the Year.
So for him to finally confirm his intention to turn his back on wearing the Three Lions is a huge blow; as we really could do with Rio in order to get to Brazil next summer and give those tabloid spreaders the ‘Rio in Rio’ tagline they all crave so dearly.
His reasons for doing so are officially to step aside and let some of the younger players step in but I just wonder if, along with the principle of the matter after the Hogdson-Terry-Ferninand affair, there is another factor behind his move?
Ferdinand’s contract runs out this summer and while it is unlikely David Moyes will want to see the back of him so far no contract has been agreeable with the 34-year-old. Many believe that Rio wants a one-year contract extension and the decision to call time on his international career is in fact a ploy to extend his successful Old Trafford stint; but could it really be the means for an exit.
This week he has been strongly linked with clubs around the globe. From the MLS to the Middle East via Turkey and Brazil; it is fair to say Rio is not short of options on a worldwide scale.
In the past David Beckham saw his international chances diminish after choosing to play in a lesser league abroad and the reality is playing in far-flung regions of the world is unlikely to get you picked for the England national team; especially when that playing time comes in a vastly inferior league.
Rio has therefore nullified the threat to a 2014 World Cup place by pulling the plug himself; leaving him free to play football anywhere in the world.
At 34-years-old he certainly has another few years left in him before he goes into semi-retirement; but some of those condos in Doha are really sweet. Year-round sunshine and high lifestyle living for a couple of years with a handsome sum to cushion the fall?
I know what I would do.
image: © Paolo Camera