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Rio Ferdinand retires from England

LONDON -- England defender Rio Ferdinand has retired from international soccer to focus on his Manchester United career.

The 34-year-old Ferdinand was recalled to the England team in March by coach Roy Hodgson after almost two years out of the fold. But Ferdinand withdrew from the squad citing fitness concerns, and instead flew to the Middle East to commentate on World Cup qualifying.

Ferdinand, who made 81 appearances for England, believes he was overlooked for a place in the national team for the European Championship amid the fallout from a case in which his brother was racially abused by Chelsea defender John Terry.

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