Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand could join former Chelsea forward Nicolas Anelka in China.

Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand has lost a High Court privacy action over a newspaper "kiss and tell" story.

The England and Manchester United defender brought his case for misuse of private information over a 2010 Mirror article in which interior designer Carly Story gave her story of their 13-year relationship in return for £16,000.

Ferdinand, 32, was not present at London's High Court to hear Mr Justice Nicol dismiss his claim against MGN Ltd.

The judge said: "Overall, in my judgment, the balancing exercise favours the defendant's right of freedom of expression over the claimant's right of privacy."

Mr Ferdinand had called the piece, which was entitled 'My affair with England captain Rio', a gross invasion of my privacy," and insisted he had not seen Storey for six years by the time it appeared.

At a hearing in July, his lawyers asked for a maximum of £50,000 damages and a gagging order.

In his ruling, Justice Nicol said there was a public interest in the article.

Afterwards, Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver said in a statement: "The Sunday Mirror is very pleased that the court has rejected Rio Ferdinand's privacy claim.

"The judge found that there was a justified public interest in reporting the off-pitch behaviour of the then England captain and discussion of his suitability for such an important and ambassadorial role representing the country.

"There has never been greater scrutiny of the media than now, and we applaud this ruling in recognising the important role a free press has to play in a democratic society."

Ferdinand now faces a costs bill unofficially estimated at around £500,000 with £100,000 to be paid to MGN within 14 days on account of its £161,000 costs.