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Manchester United defender Ferdinand retires from international football
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The retirements are coming thick and fast out of Old Trafford, with Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand the latest to call time on his international career.

The 34-year-old's retirement follows the farce that ensued in March when he was recalled by England manager Roy Hodgson for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro, only for Ferdinand to quickly withdraw due to his "pre-planned fitness program" with his club.

In a statement released by the English Football Association, Ferdinand explained that he wanted to retire from international football to "concentrate on my club career."

Alex Ferguson with the English Premier League trophy after Manchester United's 2-1 win over Swansea.

It marked the 71-year-old's final home match in charge, having announced last week that he will retire at the end of this season.

United fans braved the rain to pay their respects, with tickets reportedly being sold on the black market for more than 10 times their face value.

Ferguson's final and 1,500th match as United manager will be away to West Brom.

Ferguson walked onto the pitch at Old Trafford through a guard of honor formed by the United and Swansea City players.

United's late winner was scored by veteran Rio Ferdinand, who Ferguson signed as the most expensive defender in British football history in 2002.

Ferguson did not select Wayne Rooney in his match-day squad, and later revealed that the England striker has asked to leave United.

United fans farewell Alex Ferguson United fans farewell Alex Ferguson

As a player, Alex Ferguson enjoyed a moderately successful career. A prolific striker, he scored 170 goals in 317 appearances including 25 goals in 41 appearances for Glasgow Rangers.

Ferguson was appointed manager of Aberdeen in 1978. In addition to three Scottish First Division titles, Ferguson guided the club to an impressive triumph over Real Madrid in the 1983 European Cup Winners' Cup.

Ferguson was assistant to Scotland coach Jock Stein during the qualifying campaign for the 1986 World Cup. Scotland secured a 1-1 draw against Wales in their final game to reach the tournament, but Stein collapsed and died following the final whistle in Cardiff.

A late winner from substitute Mark Robbins in an FA Cup replay against Nottingham Forest in January 1990 allegedly spared Ferguson the sack. United went on to beat Crystal Palace at the second attempt in the final, giving Ferguson his first trophy at Old Trafford.

The Scot originally planned to retire from management at the end of the 2001-02 season. But, after helping the team recover from a slip in form which saw them drop as low as ninth in the Premier League table, Ferguson reversed his decision in February 2002 and signed a new three-year contract.

A boot flew into the face of Manchester United's star midfielder David Beckham after Ferguson lost his temper following a 2-0 FA Cup defeat to Arsenal in February 2003. Beckham had to be held back following the incident and he joined Real Madrid ahead of the following season.

Ferguson's finest hour arrived in Barcelona in May 1999, when his United team came from 1-0 down in the 90th minute to beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in the European Champions League final. The win completed an historic treble of titles won during the 1998-99 season, which included the Premier League title and the FA Cup.

The seven moments which define Alex Ferguson The seven moments which define Alex Ferguson

Everton manager David Moyes (left) and Manchester United's soon-to-retire boss Alex Ferguson (right) are pictured during the FA Cup semifinal match between their two teams at Wembley Stadium in April 2009. United announced Wednesday that Ferguson, 71, will be retiring at the end of the season after more than a quarter of a century at the helm.

Jose Mourinho, who is now Real Madrid coach, and Moyes look on during the FA Cup fourth round match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park in January 2006 in Liverpool. Both men were potential candidates to replace Ferguson, before Moyes agreed a six-year deal with United.

Moyes is pictured prior to kick off during the English Premier League match between Everton and Fulham at Goodison Park last month. Moyes is leaving Everton at the end of the season after he told the Merseyside club's chairman Bill Kenwright of his desire to join United and succeed Ferguson.

Moyes urges on his team during the English Premier League match between Arsenal and Everton at the Emirates Stadium in north London last month. The Scot is considered to have done a superb job at Goodison Park given the relatively small financial resources he had at his disposal.

Moyes attends the 24th Hillsborough Anniversary Memorial Service at Anfield last month in Liverpool. Thousands of fans, friends and relatives took part in the service to mark the death of 96 football fans in an FA Cup semifinal match in April 1989.

Other notable attendants of the Hillsborough memorial service were: (from back row, left to right) Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, Moyes, Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers, Liverpool players Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Jordan Henderson, Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre, Linda Pizzuti and her husband Liverpool's principal owner John W Henry and club chairman Tom Werner.

Moyes was made an Honorary Fellow for Outstanding Contributions to football and sportsmanship, by Liverpool John Moores' University during its annual graduation ceremony at the city's Anglican Cathedral in July 2011.

Harry Redknapp then Tottenham manager, but now Queens Park Rangers boss and Moyes are pictured together after the Sir Bobby Robson Memorial Service at Durham Cathedral in September 2009. Former England manager Robson died aged 76 following a long battle with cancer.

The family of murdered 11-year old boy Rhys Jones stand next to Moyes during a minute's appreciation before the start of the Premier League match between Everton and Blackburn Rovers at Goodison Park in August 2007. Rhys died after being shot in the neck as he played football with friends outside the Fir Tree pub in Croxteth, Liverpool in August.

"After a great deal of thought, I have decided the time is right for me to retire from international football," added Ferdinand, who has not played for England since a Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland in June 2011.

"The team looks in great shape and there is an influx of young, talented players coming through the ranks which bodes well for the future.

"I regard it as a great honor and a privilege to have represented my country at every level from Under-17s upwards.

"I have always been very proud to play for England. I would like to wish Roy and the team all the best for future tournaments.

"A big thank you to all the fans, managers, coaching staff and players that I have worked alongside - the journey has been incredible."

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In October, Hodgson was forced to apologize to Ferdinand after an English newspaper reported he had told fellow commuters during a tube journey on London's underground that the Manchester United defender's international career was over.

Ferdinand had been controversially left out of England's squad for Euro 2012 despite the United defender expressing his desire to add to his 81 international caps.

After leaving Ferdinand out of his Euro 2012 squad, Hodgson opted to take Chelsea captain John Terry, though the defender had been due in court to face allegations he racially abused Rio's brother, Anton Ferdinand.

Hodgson insisted it was purely a football decision and Terry was cleared in July. But he was banned for four matches on the same charge by the FA and announced his retirement from international football.

After making his debut against Cameroon at Wembley in 1997, Ferdinand went on to win 81 caps for England, playing in three World Cups.

"It's important to pay tribute to someone of Rio's stature and the achievements he had in a senior international career with England over 14 years at the highest level," said Hodgson

"To have captained his country, to play at three World Cups and indeed score in one of those, marks him out amongst a very special group of players.

"I appreciated the call from Rio to inform me of his decision, which clearly he had spent much time considering before reaching this point."


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