Soccer-Former England defender Ferdinand joins QPR

Reuters
Former Manchester United player Rio Ferdinand looks on in front of flags of nations in the World Cup during an event in Singapore
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Former Manchester United player Rio Ferdinand looks on in front of flags of nations participating in …

LONDON (Reuters) - Former England defender Rio Ferdinand has joined Premier League Queens Park Rangers on a free transfer after he was released by Manchester United, the London club said on Thursday.

Ferdinand, 35, has signed a one-year contract with QPR who were promoted back to the top flight through the second tier playoffs last season.

The centre back, who played 81 times for England, ended his 12-year spell at United at the end of last season after making more than 400 appearances for them and winning almost every honour in the game.

He will link up with manager Harry Redknapp, who helped nurture Ferdinand when the pair were together at West Ham United.

“I spoke to Harry and (chairman) Mr (Tony) Fernandes at length. I think they both looked me in the eye and knew that I still have something to offer – that I had a genuine desire to come here and play football," Ferdinand said in a statement.

"I had a lot of offers from all over the world – some in places with a better climate than here. But the draw for me was to play in the Premier League and back here where it all started.

"It’s not about money – I had loads of more lucrative offers available to me.

"I still feel I’ve got something to offer and I’m excited about helping this club cement its place in the Premier League."

British media reported that Ferdinand was not offered a new contract by United, where he won six Premier League trophies, two League Cups, the Champions League and the Club World Cup.

He had joined United from Leeds United for 29.1 million pounds ($49.1 million) in 2002 to become the most expensive player in English football at the time.

Ferdinand is QPR's first close-season signing.

"During his time at Manchester United, he was the best defender in Europe, if not the world," Redknapp said.

"To bring him to QPR – when he's still got so much to offer in terms of his quality, class, experience and know-how – is a remarkable coup for the club."

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