Queens Park Rangers defender and former Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand has spoken publicly for the first time since his wife Rebecca Ellison’s recent death from cancer, BBC Sport reports.
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The ex-England international admits he has been going through the most difficult period of his life, and has thanked QPR for their support during this time as he has been unable to play for the club.
Ferdinand even admits to feeling guilty at not being able to help Rangers in their fight against relegation, with the club now preparing for Championship football for next season.
Still, the 36-year-old says his club have shown great support, and has also thanked other members of the footballing family.
“As footballers, we often talk about missing important games through injury as if it was the end of the world,” he said.
“Believe me, it isn’t when compared to your wife and mother of your children dying of cancer at the age of 34.
“I wanted to carry on for the team but I couldn’t make any promises and it wasn’t fair on the boss wondering whether I was available or not.
“I admit I felt guilty that I was letting the club down in our relegation fight.”
Ferdinand added that he didn’t tell any of his team-mates about his wife’s illness, saying that she was very keen to keep it a private issue and out of the public eye, but eventually he had to let them know what was happening.
“None of the lads knew what was going on because I didn’t tell them. But eventually I asked the medical staff to let the other players know.
“I couldn’t have asked for greater support from QPR. Everyone connected with the club has been fantastic.
“The day it was announced that Rebecca had died, we were overwhelmed by messages of support.
“To hear the fans at Old Trafford and West Ham singing for us and seeing Steven Gerrard hand over flowers to my team-mate Joey Barton was special.”