"After 18 years as a professional footballer, I now feel it's the right time for me to retire from the game that I love," he declared.
His Queens Park Rangers contract is due to expire at the end of June, and after a difficult year in West London, the England legend has decided to call time on his playing career.
The 36-year-old made just a dozen appearances at Loftus Road having spent 12 years at Old Trafford where he won a whole host of trophies.
The defender has had to battle with personal tragedy recently, after his wife Rebecca passed away earlier this month battling breast cancer.
Ferdinand played for England as part of the country's 'golden generation', winning 81 caps and playing at three World Cups.
He started his career at hometown club West Ham United, before winning his first England cap at the age of 19. He then went on to feature for Leeds United, before moving to Manchester United in 2002, playing 455 times for the Red Devils and winning the Champions League and six Premier League titles among others.
Below are a selection of tweets relating to his announcement, with Manchester United fans paying particular praise to their former hero:
@rioferdy5 has officially retired from football, got so much respect for the man, awesome defender he was, he was just that guy— Hamdan LAFTAH (@HamdanLaftah) May 30, 2015
Anyone trying to say Rio Ferdinand hasn't been a great player for West Ham, Leeds, Man Utd & England is just bitter or doesn't know football— Ben Lynam (@benjiesta) May 30, 2015
At the peak of his form, very few could compare to @rioferdy5 and less still could match his ability to inspire his teammates. We thank you— Romaine (@rumbumpMUFC) May 30, 2015
Respect to @rioferdy5 he was a great player south east London boy done good big up.— Derek A (@dboy101) May 30, 2015