Rio Ferdinand has withdrawn from David Beckham’s UNICEF match at Old Trafford on Saturday, ending any chance of him lining up alongside John Terry.
The former Manchester United defender had been due to play in a Great Britain and Ireland team managed by Alex Ferguson against Carlo Ancelotti’s Rest of the World side in the star-studded charity game.
It would have been the first time Ferdinand had lined up alongside Terry since the Chelsea defender allegedly used racist language against his brother Anton during a match with QPR in 2011.
Terry was found not guilty by a magistrates court but was still fined and suspended by the FA in a saga that eventually led to his international retirement.
Ashley Cole, who gave evidence in Terry’s defence in the criminal trial, is also due to play for the GB and Ireland team in the sold-out fixture.
No reason was given for Ferdinand’s withdrawal in a United statement, although reports suggest he has suffered a calf injury.
It was also announced Alessandro Nesta, Massimo Ambrosini and Fabio Cannavaro would miss the game. Andy Cole has already had to pull out after suffering kidney failure.
The statement read: “Players who were originally scheduled to play including Rio Ferdinand, Andy Cole, Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta and Massimo Ambrosini can no longer attend Saturday’s match.”
Beckham will captain the GB and Ireland side, while Zinedine Zidane leads out a Rest of the World team that lincludes the likes of Luis Figo and Ronaldinho.