Rio Ferdinand has announced that he is retiring from professional football.
The former England captain has decided to hang up his boots after an 18 year career.
Unsurprisingly, Ferdinand dedicated his speech to his late wife, Rebecca, who tragically died recently.
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 said. “As a 12-year-old boy, kicking around a football on the Friary Estate in Peckham, I never dreamt that I would play for my boyhood club West Ham, captain Leeds United, win the Champions League with Manchester United, or re-join my first manager Harry Redknapp at Queens Park Rangers.
I will always regard the 81 times that I played for England, with immense pride. These are all treasured memories that will last a lifetime.
I’d also like to thank and pay tribute to my late wife Rebecca and my family, including my mother and father, for their sacrifices, their encouragement and their advice throughout my career.
And finally, I’d like to thank all the fans from all the clubs, for without them professional football would not exist. I will miss each and every one of you on my Saturday afternoons.