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Veteran French centre-back Laurent Blanc has postponed his retirement from the game by at least 12 months after agreeing a one-year deal to stay at Manchester United.

“I am very happy. I can’t wait for the new season to start,” said the 36-year-old defender.

Blanc, 36, who said last season that he would retire at the end of the 2001-02 campaign, met with United boss Alex Ferguson and representatives from the club on returning from the World Cup.

Ferguson said: “I am delighted. Laurent has been at the World Cup and so I have been awaiting his return. It was merely a matter of agreeing with agents.”

Blanc joined United in August last year to replace Jaap Stam, who had been sold to Lazio. After an uncomfotable start to his Premier League career, the former French captain vindicated the faith placed in him by Ferguson and became one of United’s more reliable performers in what was ultimately a disappointing season for the club.

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