THE end of one era signals the beginning of a new one for Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic.
Inter Milan announced yesterday that the 32-year-old Serbian, a rock in the centre of United's defence since January 2006, had agreed to join the Italian giants.
The Nerazzurri won five consecutive league titles from 2006 through 2010 but are currently 28 points behind Serie A leaders Juventus.
Inter president Erick Thohir is hoping the addition of Vidic, a winner of five Premier League titles with Manchester United and one Champions League crown, ushers in a new period of sustained success at the San Siro.
"Vidic is a great champion," he said. "I am extremely satisfied with the completion of this agreement that will bring Nemanja to Milan.
"He is one of the strongest defenders in the world, for his characteristics, his international experience. His charisma as a leader will be crucial for the team and the growth of our younger players.
"He will add value to the club and will be another pillar for the construction of a great Inter.
"Finally, I want to thank Manchester United, Nemanja and his entourage for his availability and the professionalism shown during the negotiation process."
Vidic announced last month that he would be leaving England this summer with his contract at United expiring in June.
"It's the last year of my contract and I have had eight wonderful years here," he said.
"My time at this great club will always rank as the best years of my career.
"The only club I ever wanted to play for here (in England) is Manchester United.
"I never could have imagined winning 15 trophies and I will certainly never forget that fantastic night in Moscow, memories that will live with me and the fans forever."
That Champions League triumph over Chelsea at the Luzhniki Stadium in 2008 remains the high point of Vidic's career.
Vidic overcame a serious knee injury in December 2011 that required two major operations but returned and skippered United to their historic 20th championship – his fifth and the last under manager Alex Ferguson.
He was named four times in the PFA Premier League team of the season and twice in the FIFPro World XI.
"I am now going to focus all my efforts on playing for Manchester United," Vidic said. "I will do the best I can for the team until the end of the season."
Vidic has started in 18 league games and four Champions League matches this season.