Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic will leave the club after eight years at the end of the season.
Manager David Moyes had previously indicated he wanted Vidic to stay, but the 32-year-old Serbian defender on Friday announced plans to leave when his contract expires.
“I have decided that I will move on at the end of this season,” Vidic said. “I want to challenge myself again and try to make the best of myself in the coming years.
“I’m not considering staying in England as the only club I ever wanted to play for here is Manchester United and I was lucky enough to be part of this club for so many years.”
Inter Milan has already been suggested as a potential destination for the strong and commanding center back, who can now start to talk to rival clubs.
“I’ve got a few options to move on and I will choose the right one for me and for my family,” Vidic said.
The statement, issued by United, contained no comments from Moyes, who is facing a tough task rebuilding a team that is currently seventh in a league it won by 11 points last May before Alex Ferguson retired after 26 years in charge.
Another center back, the 35-year-old Rio Ferdinand, might also have no future at the club beyond this season, while 40-year-old midfielder Ryan Giggs is nearing the end of his playing career and is already on the coaching staff.
Vidic played a key role in United’s title triumphs since making his debut at the start of 2006 after joining from Spartak Moscow for seven million pounds ($11 million). Vidic has won the Premier League five times as well as the Champions League and the Club World Cup.
But, after being injured in a Champions League fixture in December 2011, Vidic required major knee surgery and endured extended spells on the sidelines.
“It’s the last year of my contract and I have had eight wonderful years here,” Vidic said. “My time at this great club will always rank as the best years of my career.
”I never could have imagined winning 15 trophies and I will certainly never forget that fantastic night in Moscow (in the 2008 Champions League final win over Chelsea), memories that will live with me and the fans forever.”