Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka admits nothing he can say will ease the disappointment of the Schalke fans following his decision to join Bayern Munich in the summer.
The 22-year-old is Schalke’s leading player, but has signed a four-year contract with Bayern to take effect from July 1, the Bundesliga champions announced.
Goretzka, who had been a reported target for several Premier League sides, passed a medical on Thursday.
“I know that in doing this I am disappointing all of you and you will have little understanding of it,” he said in a message to Schalke supporters on his Facebook page.
“Any statement I make now would not be well received by you.
“I do not want to say goodbye now because there is still the second half of the season to play.
“And anyone who knows me even a little knows that as always I will give my all. I want to take Schalke back into the Champions League and I want to win the DFB-Pokal on May 19 in Berlin.”
Goretzka, who said Schalke’s bosses had “left no stone unturned” in their efforts to persuade him to stay in Gelsenkirchen, added: “I would like to ask you one thing.
“You do not have to agree with my decision, but do not take it out on the team. We have goals we want to achieve. And I want to be a decisive part of that.”
Goretzka, joined the Royal Blues from Bochum in 2013 and has gone on to win 12 caps for the national team.
Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge described Goretzka as a player with “great potential” and said on the club website they had beaten off “considerable competition from abroad” for his signature.
Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel admitted his club had had to concede defeat in the battle to keep hold of their prized asset.
“Leon Goretzka informed us earlier this week that he wishes to leave the club and join Bayern,” Heidel said at a press conference.
“We were very sorry to hear this. We are losing a very, very good player.
“We did everything we could to try and keep him. In the summer he and his agent reached an agreement, but he wanted time to develop.
“We can cope with this situation, it wasn’t a complete surprise. We are prepared for this.”
Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco added the team were “sad and disappointed to be losing Leon, both as a player and as a person”.
Schalke lie third in the Bundesliga table, 14 points behind leaders Bayern, ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Hannover.
The impending arrival of Goretzka at Bayern will increase speculation over the future of Arturo Vidal, who has been linked with a move away from the Allianz Arena.
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