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Rio Ferdinand finalises move to QPR

Updated: Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 23:52 | Comments

Rio Ferdinand made 455 appearances over 12 years at Manchester United
Rio Ferdinand made 455 appearances over 12 years at Manchester United

Former Manchester United and England captain Rio Ferdinand has signed for QPR on a one-year deal.

The 35-year-old left Old Trafford at the end of his contract this summer following 12 years with the Red Devils.

Ferdinand will also be reunited with Harry Redknapp at Loftus Road after the current QPR boss handed him his professional debut for West Ham as a 17-year-old in 1996, and the veteran defender is eager to prove he still has something to offer.

"I spoke to Harry and (owner Tony) Mr Fernandes at length," he told qpr.co.uk.

"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's long-anticipated move to Loftus Road was completed on Thursday evening after he passed a medical.

Ferdinand, whose younger brother Anton and cousin Les also had spells at QPR, had been linked with a move to west London some weeks ago before a hold-up believed to be caused by a wrangling over wages.

But now that has been ironed out Ferdinand is looking forward to playing for a team he used to watch growing up.

"There are great memories for me here - for my family," he said.

"Anton had nothing but good things to say about QPR and I watched Les here as a boy, with the likes of Ray Wilkins, Clive Wilson, David Bardsley and Alan McDonald.

"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."

After establishing himself as a firm favourite at Upton Park, Ferdinand moved to Leeds in 2000 for a then-British transfer record of £18million.

He was an integral part of David O'Leary's young side that reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2001 and was installed as captain at Elland Road the following season.

During his time in Yorkshire, Ferdinand became an England regular and attracted the attention of Manchester United following an impressive showing at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

Another big fee, reported to be almost £30million, saw Ferdinand move across the Pennines where he would go on to make over 450 appearances and win six Premier League titles, the Champions League, two League Cups and the FIFA Club World Cup.

Ferdinand spent eight months on the sidelines in 2004 for missing a drugs test, sitting out the 3-0 FA Cup final success over Millwall and the entire Euro 2004 tournament.

Having been named England captain in early 2010, Ferdinand missed out on leading Fabio Capello's side in the 2010 World Cup due to a knee injury sustained in the build-up to the tournament.

He announced his international retirement in May 2013 and went on to play one more season at United, making 23 appearances in a disappointing campaign for the Red Devils.

Interim manager Ryan Giggs selected Ferdinand for the final-day draw at Southampton, with the defender announcing soon afterwards that he would be looking for a new club.

Linking up with Redknapp always appeared to be a strong possibility and the R's boss is delighted to be able to work with Ferdinand again.

"Rio's a fantastic player and a great professional, I'm delighted we've been able to bring him here," he said.

"I signed Rio as a 14-year-old. He was class on the field and off the field then, and he's continued in that manner throughout his career. During his time at Manchester United, he was the best defender in Europe, if not the world.

"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."

Redknapp later revealed that he had agreed a fee with Cardiff for central defender Steven Caulker and he was confident the 22-year-old would become a better player alongside Ferdinand.

"We've agreed a fee for Steven Caulker, who I like very much," he told Sky Sports News. "I had him at Tottenham as a player and he's done very well.

"I think for him to come and play with Rio would be a great experience for him.

"I'm looking to play with three central defenders this year. So (there are) those two and then I've got Richard Dunne, Nedum Onuoha, Clint Hill, I've got real good defenders here.

"I think for Steven Caulker to come in and be part of it with those experienced players will be great for him.

"I think Rio will be a big influence on him. I think for Steven it will be the best education he could ever have in his life to play with Rio."

Caulker began his career at Spurs and had loan spells at Yeovil, Bristol City and Swansea before returning to White Hart Lane and earning his only England cap so far against Sweden in November 2012.

He moved to Cardiff last summer for a then club-record fee.

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