Rio Ferdinand expected to follow Ryan Giggs and sign Manchester United contract extension

Ferdinand set to follow Giggs in signing new United contract despite interest from the States and Far East

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Old guard: Rio Ferdinand (left) is likely to join Ryan Giggs in signing a contract extension at Manchester United

Old guard: Rio Ferdinand (left) is likely to join Ryan Giggs in signing a contract extension at Manchester United

Ferdinand seems more likely to sign yet so far, the 34-year-old has still to commit himself, amid rumours of interest from the US, China and the cash-rich Far East.

However, Ferguson is confident Ferdinand will remain at Old Trafford.

'That is a strong possibility,' he said. 'It would have to happen before the end of the season.'

Ferdinand is managing a long-standing back complaint and his performances this season suggest he still has a major role to play with the Red Devils, even if England boss Roy Hodgson is not interested.

He is virtually certain to be involved against Real Madrid on Tuesday, when United look to secure their place in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Stalwart: Ferdinand joined United in 2002 and has been a regular since

Stalwart: Ferdinand joined United in 2002 and has been a regular since

'I think he has had a great season,' said Ferguson.

'He has managed himself the right way and we have contributed to that in the preparation we give him.

'He doesn't play every game in the same way that Ryan doesn't play every game.

'But in terms of key matches he has been absolutely brilliant.

'Two weeks ago, against Real Madrid, he was excellent so we need to get him ready for the big one on Tuesday.'