independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Moyes: Reports of Rio Ferdinand's retirement 'complete nonsense'

Manchester United manager David Moyes (right) talks to Rio Ferdinand during training
Manchester United manager David Moyes (right) talks to Rio Ferdinand during training

Rio Ferdinand will be going on Manchester United's winter break, with manager David Moyes branding speculation to the contrary "complete nonsense".

Moyes opted not to state where United were going following Wednesday night's Premier League encounter at Arsenal.

However, it is widely believed the Red Devils will be spending a short time in Dubai as part of their preparations for the Champions League encounter with Olympiakos in Athens on February 25.

It had been claimed Ferdinand, an unused substitute in Sunday's Premier League draw with Fulham at Old Trafford, would not travel and, in addition, it was suggested United would confirm on Thursday the 35-year-old would be retiring at the end of the season.

However, Moyes said rejected the claims out of hand.

"I can only tell you what was written was a load of rubbish," said Moyes.

"Complete nonsense."

Ferdinand's present contract is due to expire at the end of the season.

As the veteran defender has made just one appearance in two months and failed to make it onto the field at Old Trafford on Sunday, even though two obvious alternatives - Phil Jones and Jonny Evans - were ruled out through injury, and long-time partner Nemanja Vidic has already announced his intention to quit Old Trafford in the summer, it would not be a massive surprise if Ferdinand did call it a day.

He certainly would appear to have little future at United, the club he joined for £29.1million in 2002, although a switch to MLS is not completely out of the question.

Ferdinand has also entered the debate.

In addition to a put-down of the author of the story about his omission, he stated on Twitter: "Must be another slow news day."

Whilst the wider merits of United's squad heading off to sunnier climes at a time when their domestic form has been so poor, professionally it makes sense.

Indeed, with the Champions League now representing the club's only chance of marking Moyes' debut campaign with any silverware, it represents a sensible move by the Scot.

"We've got a big Champions League game coming up in just over a week's time and this gives us a chance of having a few days away to get ready," Moyes added.

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