rio ferdinand manchester united

Rio Ferdinand will be leaving Manchester United after 12 years with the club. (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Rio Ferdinand says he is leaving Manchester United after 12 years at the Premier League club but wants to continue playing.

The 35-year-old former England defender has not been offered an extension to his contract that expires next month.

Ferdinand says in a statement released Monday that "I have thought long and hard over the last few months about my future, and ... I have decided the time is right for me to move on."

Ferdinand became the most expensive player in English football when he joined United from Leeds for 29.1 million pounds in 2002. He made 454 appearances for the club.

Ferdinand adds "I am feeling fit and healthy, ready for a new challenge and looking forward to whatever the future holds for me."