Skip to main content

Manchester United defender Ferdinand retires from international football

May 15, 2013 -- Updated 1233 GMT (2033 HKT)
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has represented England 81 times, but not since June 2011.
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has represented England 81 times, but not since June 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand retires from international football
  • Ferdinand won 81 caps for England
  • The 34-year-old defender made debut against Cameroon at Wembley in 1997
  • Ferdinand last played for England in June 2011

(CNN) -- 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."

Read: Man City right to ax Roberto Mancini?

Alex Ferguson's recipe for success
Alex Ferguson with the English Premier League trophy after Manchester United's 2-1 win over Swansea. Alex Ferguson with the English Premier League trophy after Manchester United's 2-1 win over Swansea.
United fans farewell Alex Ferguson
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>
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.
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.
A formidable forward
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>
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. 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.
David Moyes: Alex Ferguson's successor
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
David Moyes: Alex Ferguson\'s successor David Moyes: Alex Ferguson's successor

"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."

Read: Gay footballer who chose freedom over "prison"

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."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CNN Football Club
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
The 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy, which claimed 96 lives, brought the red and the blue halves of Liverpool together.
CNN's Don Riddell says the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy has caused irreparable damage to the families of the 96 victims and the survivors.
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
The Champions league trophy stands on show during the draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions league at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on March 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Two European heavyweights will collide in the Champions League semifinals after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were drawn together in Switzerland.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
West Bromwich Albion's French striker Nicolas Anelka looks on during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England, on January 1, 2014.
England prides itself on being the home of football, but is the nation dysfunctional in dealing with racist abuse?
March 18, 2014 -- Updated 1339 GMT (2139 HKT)
In a city where football is a religion, Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge is fast becoming a deity.
French former football player Zinedine Zidane reacts during the gala football 'Match Against Poverty' organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on March 4, 2014 in Bern.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0922 GMT (1722 HKT)
Neymar
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
February 1, 2014 -- Updated 1825 GMT (0225 HKT)
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
January 23, 2014 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
ADVERTISEMENT