Rio Ferdinand thrilled to give Sir Alex Ferguson perfect send-off after 'devastating' news

Defender's 87th minute winner gives Sir ALex Ferguson victory in his final game at Old Trafford

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The Independent Football

Rio Ferdinand was delighted to give Sir Alex Ferguson a winning send-off in his final Old Trafford match as Manchester United manager following the “devastating” news the long-serving Scot would be stepping down from his post at the end of the season.

Ferdinand smashed home an 87th-minute goal to earn United a 2-1 victory over Swansea today after Michu had cancelled out Javier Hernandez's first-half opener for the Barclays Premier League champions.

The win ensured Ferguson finished on a high in his final home match after 26 years in charge and Ferdinand believes it is just what he deserved.

"To win at Old Trafford, the man's desire to win football matches, to keep bringing success to the football club, he deserved to have three points in his last home game," said Ferdinand, who revealed the players' shock when Ferguson announced to them he was stepping down.

"Obviously it was a personal moment between him and the squad, it's emotional, he's had so many years here, it's his second home," he told Sky Sports 1.

"For us to hear him say it, we were devastated, but as you know this is a great club, we have to move on and that's what he wants."

Ferdinand is out of contract at the end of the season but the 34-year-old is hoping Ferguson can influence the powers that be at United to give him a new one.

He said: "It'd be nice. I'll have to speak to the board and hopefully the manager puts in a good word in for me!"

United lost the Premier League title in agonising fashion to Manchester City last season but bounced back to reclaim the trophy in convincing style this season - the 13th time under Ferguson.

Part of the reason for this season's success was the arrival last summer of the prolific Robin van Persie from Arsenal.

The Dutchman was thrilled to get his hands on a Premier League winner's medal after failing to manage it during eight seasons with the Gunners.

He said after lifting the trophy today: "It was amazing, it was heavy!

"I couldn't have wished for this year to be any better, only in my wildest dreams could I have wished it be like this."

He also hailed Ferguson, adding: "For me it was a massive honour to have worked with him. I want to thank him, he's been unbelievable. He's a great manager and an even greater person. He deserves all the credit. He's amazing."

On finding out Ferguson was leaving, Van Persie added: "It was a really sad day. Everybody understands it."


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