Carrick leads tributes to Ferdinand
Michael Carrick led the tributes to Rio Ferdinand after the defender announced he will leave Manchester United when his contract expires.
• Payne: Adios, Rio, as rebuild begins
Midfielder Carrick branded the centre-back a "Rolls Royce" and said his long-time partnership with Nemanja Vidic was "perfect."
Ferdinand, 35, is moving on after 12 years at Old Trafford, in which time he won the Premier League six times and the Champions League once and made 455 appearances for the club.
Carrick was a teammate for eight years, while Vidic, who has also played his final United after agreeing to join Inter Milan, was another 2006 signing.
And the 32-year-old wrote on Twitter: "1st Vida [Vidic] now Rio, we've shared so much. Both 2 of the very best defenders of ALL TIME and I don't say that lightly.
"Vida, simply the best out and out defender I've seen. Aggression and desire to win at all costs, scared centre forwards to death! #PerfectPartnership
"Rio, A Rolls Royce, best all round CB, got the lot, defend, quick, composed beyond belief and made those around him better players."
Former United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar set a record by going 1,302 minutes without conceding a league goal in the 2008-09 season, playing behind a defence that included Ferdinand and Vidic, and was another of the 2008 Champions League-winning side.
United winger Ashley Young branded Ferdinand a "legend" but former skipper Gary Neville questioned the club's wisdom in letting the two veteran centre-backs go at the same time.
He wrote on Twitter: "So it looks like Rio and Vida allowed to leave at once!!! A conveyor belt has become a cliff!"