Five possible destinations for Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand United

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has confirmed his departure from the Premier League giants, thanking the club and vowing to continue playing.

Not content with losing one of their best ever central defenders at the end of the season, news has emerged that Manchester United are also releasing Rio Ferdinand from the club, after a glorious career that saw him play 455 games over 12 years for the Reds.

Forming a variety of successful defensive partnerships in his time at the club, the most notable perhaps with Nemanja Vidic who is also leaving this summer, Ferdinand won a massive 6 Premier League titles, 1 Champions League trophy, and 2 League Cups. He was also part of the side that won the FIFA Club World Cup in 2008.

Ferdinand had this to say following his departure: "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 team-mates, staff, the club and the fans for an unbelievable 12 years 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."

Below we look at five teams the 35-year-old may wind up at:

West Ham United

Ferdinand's first club, the former England man learnt his trade at the Boleyn Ground, blossoming into one of the country's finest centre backs while turning out in the famous claret and blue. Arguably the side's best home grown defender since the late, great Bobby Moore, Rio made 157 appearances for the Hammers, scoring 2 goals, and is still highly thought of there, where he would bring some real class to the centre of defence.

Queens Park Rangers 

Few managers are as supportive of those they bring through as former West Ham manager Harry Redknapp, and the QPR boss will likely be very much interested in his former defensive prodigy whatever division the Hoops are in next year. Would be a top addition if they do make it back to the Prem, and would find himself among a bunch of former Hammers.

Arsenal

Ferdinand was linked to the Gunners a few weeks ago, a story which would have taken most people by surprise. Wenger was believed to be interested in taking him to Arsenal as back up for his first choice pairing, and given his class and experience, it would be hard to say it wasn't a decent short term option so long as the former England man can stay fit.

Crystal Palace

Another London club and one that had a scintillating second half to the season, earning their highest ever Premier League finish under Tony Pulis. The former Stoke boss already got the defence settled and performing once he came in and the addition of someone of the stature of Ferdinand would be a huge statement by the Eagles. 

Burnley

In contrast to one of the possible London moves available to Ferdinand, if he wanted to stay up in Manchester he has the option to turn out for United's recently promoted Lancashire neighbours Burnley. The Clarets have former United youngsters Tom Heaton and David Jones at the club, and someone like Ferdinand would be the perfect experienced addition to give Sean Dyche's men a fighting chance of staying in the division next year.

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