Ferdinand: United shirked farewell

Former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand hit out at his old club ahead of his return to Old Trafford on Sunday.

Ferdinand's 12-year stint in Manchester ended in the close-season when he switched to QPR, the defender moving on after 312 league appearances for United.

However, despite being a part of six Premier League titles under legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson, Ferdinand said he never got the chance to farewell the fans - who he will greet as an opposition player on Sunday.

"I had great years at Old Trafford," Ferdinand told the BBC. 

"I never got to say goodbye when I left, which was unfortunate, so it will be a nice opportunity to say bye to a lot of people who supported me and helped me."

Ferdinand's comments came after United manager Louis van Gaal claimed the England defender decided to leave, and was not pushed out - despite reports chairman Ed Woodward told the 35-year-old he would not have his contract extended immediately after their season finale in May.

"No," replied Van Gaal, when asked if Ferdinand would still be a valuable asset. 

"There is a time to stay and time to go and I think he decided to go. 

"He was a great player and maybe he is still a great player, but there is always a time to go for a player in a club."

Ferdinand also said he felt QPR were meeting United - winless in three league matches - at the worst possible time for the Londoners.

"The timing could not have been worse for us," Ferdinand said. 

"They [Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao] are two world-class players. They will be raring to go and wanting to prove themselves to the United fans.

"I've played against Di Maria before and really liked him. He's a really good runner with the ball - quick and direct - and one of the hardest players to play against.

"United have not had the best of starts and I have to do a professional job. I'm sure there will be a few emotions on my part but I have to put those to one side."