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Ex-England defender Ferdinand retires

(AP Photo/Jon Super, FILE)

(AP) -- Former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand announced his retirement on Saturday, ending a 20-year professional career in which the ball-playing center back established himself as one of the top English players of his generation.

"This season, I really found out that it was time to hang the boots up and get back in the house and watch other people play the game," the 36-year-old Ferdinand said in announcing his decision on British broadcaster BT Sport.

Ferdinand was absent for the closing stages of his final season in football, with Queens Park Rangers, after his wife died on May 1 following a battle with cancer.

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