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Premier League

Vidic signs new Manchester United deal

Nemanja Vidic has signed a four-year contract extension with Manchester United.

The announcement puts an end to the intense debate surrounding the Serbian for over 18 months, with his future seemingly destined to be away from Old Trafford.

Although Vidic never gave any impression of knowing where the stories about his apparent discontent in Manchester had come from, they never went away and both AC Milan and Real Madrid were said to be showing an interest in the 28-year-old after the World Cup this summer.

However, United chief executive David Gill sprung a surprise during the club's pre-season tour of North America when he confirmed that Vidic, who was not present, had agreed outline terms on a new contract.

The finishing touches have now been made, leaving Ferguson glad to have Vidic around until 2014.

"We are delighted Nemanja has committed his future to the club," he said. "This kills all the silly speculation over the past few months.

"Nemanja has developed into one of the best centre-halves in Europe and we are pleased he will be here for many years to come."

Vidic holds a notable place in United's history because his arrival from Spartak Moscow in a £7.2million deal was announced on Christmas Day 2005.

Although he endured a difficult transition to the Premier League, Vidic eventually found his feet and has gone on to become one of the best defenders in the world.

Famed for his strength and no-nonsense approach to keeping forwards at bay, the only opponent he has consistently had trouble against is Liverpool's Fernando Torres.

Vidic was a central figure in each of United's three successive title wins and their Champions League triumph over Chelsea in 2008.

With Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville missing and Ryan Giggs starting on the substitutes' bench, Vidic has skippered United this term and led the Old Trafford outfit to their Community Shield triumph over Chelsea at Wembley earlier this month.

"I am very happy to sign this contract," he said. "I came to this club when I was young and have developed enormously with the help of the manager, coaching staff and my team-mates.

"During my time here we have had a lot of success and I look forward to continuing that success in the coming seasons."