Nemanja Vidic announced on Thursday, Feb. 6, that he plans on leaving Manchester United at the end of the season.
Updates From Friday, Feb. 7
According to Manchester United manager David Moyes, Vidic will remain the team's captain this season (quotes courtesy Sky Sports):
The 32-year-old, who has already been linked with a move to Inter Milan, will remain as United's captain for the remainder of the season.
And Moyes insists he will continue to rely upon the 6ft 2in centre-back as United try to force their way back into top-four contention this season.
"It was something that we all mutually agreed together," Moyes said. "I think it was the right decision for club and player.
"He has been a brilliant servant for Manchester United. He is captain and it will remain that way until the end of the season.
"He has been a great player for us and we will continue using him."
The 32-year-old centre-back told ManUtd.com that he will depart once his contract expires in the summer:
It’s the last year of my contract and I have had eight wonderful years here. 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, memories that will live with me and the fans forever. However, I have decided that I will move on at the end of this season. 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. I’ve got a few options to move on and I will choose the right one for me and for my family.
I am now going to focus all my efforts on playing for Manchester United and do the best I can for the team until the end of the season. I hope this stops any further speculation about my future.
United saluted their all-conquering centre-back on Instagram:
During his time at Old Trafford, Vidic became one of the best centre-backs in the world. In their prime, both he and Rio Ferdinand were unstoppable, peaking during the 2007-08 season, in which the Red Devils beat Chelsea in the Champions League final.
Although this news doesn't come as a major surprise, it's huge nonetheless.
Since arriving in December 2005 from Spartak Moscow, Vidic has become one of the most influential players at the club. With Ferdinand injured in 2010, he took control of the captain's armband, speaking as to how much Sir Alex Ferguson felt about his leadership.
Who will take over as captain is up for debate, and The Times' Oliver Kay doesn't think the prospects look good:
Chance for Moyes to stamp authority by appointing captain now rather than going thru motions with Vidic. Lack of contenders is an indictment— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) February 7, 2014
Some proposing J Evans as next #MUFC captain. Robson, Bruce, Cantona, Schmeichel, Keane, Neville, Vidic... Evans? As I said, an indictment.— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) February 7, 2014
From Vidic's perspective, you can understand why it's time to move on.
With United, he has reached the pinnacle, winning a Champions League title and five Premier League titles.
There's also the aspect of Manchester United being in transition. At this stage in his career, the Serbian doesn't have too many seasons left until his decline becomes more pronounced. You can't blame him if he wants to move somewhere that's a little more stable in the twilight of his career.
From the United perspective, this only hastens the inevitable. It was becoming apparent that the club needed to find a replacement for Vidic very soon, as a result of his injuries and dip in form. Now the club knows that it will need to get that replacement this summer.
The club will be hard-pressed to find somebody as talented and influential as him, though.
Follow me on Twitter @JosephZucker.