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Friday, 19 July, 2002, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK
Rio reveals Euro ambition
Rio Ferdinand
An impressive World Cup increased Ferdinand's value
Rio Ferdinand has revealed he asked Leeds United to allow him to leave for the good of his career.

The England centre-back is a transfer target for Manchester United after submitting a transfer request in a bid to hasten a move to Old Trafford.

And Ferdinand's agent Pinhas Zahavi has revealed that the ball is now in United's court.

"In my opinion the money will now speak. If Manchester pay what they want for him he will go," said Zahavi.

Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale is reluctant to sell Ferdinand, but a bid of 30m from Old Trafford would be too good to turn down.

Ferdinand, who is due to depart on Leeds' tour of the Far East on Saturday, said: "I did it for the good of my career.

"I have told Mr Ridsdale why I feel I have to leave and I think he understands. He told me if an acceptable offer came in for me, he would consider it.

What has always struck me when I have played against Rio is how quick and strong he is
Man Utd's Ryan Giggs

"There is no animosity on either side. I just feel I need Champions League football to help my career.

"I played in it once with Leeds and it was brilliant and I feel I need more of it now to make me a better player.

"A footballer has a short career and you have to make the most of your opportunities.

"The chance to get back in the Champions League is too good to miss. It is a natural progression in a footballer's career to want to play at the top in Europe.

"Being at the World Cup didn't make me think like that. I felt that way before I went.

"I want to play against the best all the time, that's what I'm striving for. It's important to me," he told The Sun.

Ferdinand hopes the Leeds fans understand the reasons behind his decision to quit the Elland Road club.

He added: "The meeting with the chairman was perfectly amicable. He made his points, I made mine.

Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale
Ridsdale is desperate for Ferdinand to stay at Leeds

"I really hope if I do leave, it's on the best terms possible. I appreciate what the club has done for me and the fans have been first-class.

"I've thought long and hard about them every day since I made this decision because I owe them a lot. It was not an easy decision to make.

"It is not like I have done it without thinking but this is what I believe will benefit me as a player.

"I can appreciate why the Leeds fans want me to stay. I just hope deep down they understand my reasons for putting myself on the list."

Manchester United have until 8 August to register Ferdinand for the Champions League third qualifying round.

Meanwhile, Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs believes Ferdinand would be a perfect signing for the club.

Giggs said: "Rio is an excellent defender. There are probably only a handful of players in the world who can strengthen Manchester United - and he is one of them.

"He will come in and improve this side. He will fit in at United perfectly.

"What has always struck me when I have played against him is how quick and strong he is.

"Since he has been made Leeds captain, he has become a leader as well. He definitely has all the qualities you look for in a defender."

Should Rio Ferdinand join Man Utd?



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