Rio Ferdinand: I rejected Chelsea in favour of Leeds United move

Rio Ferdinand United

The former Leeds defender says Chelsea wanted him while he was at West Ham - but he needed to leave London.

Rio Ferdinand has revealed that he could have joined Chelsea when he was at West Ham - but instead chose to move to Leeds United.

The Queens Park Rangers defender, who enjoyed his greatest success at Manchester United, left West Ham for Leeds in 2000.

And he admits he turned down interest from Chelsea in favour of a move to Elland Road because he needed to get away from 'the bright lights' of the capital.

"It wasn't until I went to Leeds that my attitude began to change and mature - and my game really started to improve. I have to thank David O'Leary, the Leeds manager, for helping me," Ferdinand wrote in his new book '2 sides.'

"When I decided to leave West Ham, Chelsea wanted me but I realised I needed to leave London. I had to get away from the bright lights and all the invitations to nightclubs I found so hard to refuse.

"When I met the chairman, Peter Ridsdale, he talked about money and I wasn't listening.

"I was sitting there thinking, I don't really care about the money, I'm sure it will be more than enough. He [O'Leary] promised to make me a better footballer."

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