Dong released by United
© AFP

Chinese forward Dong Fangzhuo has left Manchester United after his contract with the reigning European champions was cancelled by mutual consent.

The 23-year-old endured a frustrating four-year spell at Old Trafford following a £500,000 transfer from Dalian Shide in 2004.

He spent two years on loan at Royal Antwerp, scoring 35 goals in 61 games, as he waited for a work permit to play in England.

When Dong was finally given the green light to play for Sir Alex Ferguson's team, he made his debut in a goalless draw at Chelsea in May 2007, becoming the first Chinese player to represent United in the process.

But that proved to be a false dawn. He made two only more appearances last season, and spent most of the campaign watching from the sidelines as United stormed to a Premier League and Champions League double.

"Dong Fangzhuo's United contract has been cancelled by mutual consent," a statement on United's official website confirmed.