Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has spoken about his decision to leave the club at the end of the season, with Bayern Munich lining up a move for the player.
The 25-year-old, who has just over a year to run on his current contract, has informed the club he will not be signing a new deal.
Neuer, who has been at Schalke since 1991, was in tears as he explained he wanted to leave the club to boost his career.
“This was not an easy decision to make, I wanted to be honest and to explain my reasons,” said Neuer.
“I want to develop further and take a new big step in my career.
“I want to continue playing in the Champions League, at the highest level.
“As a person I want to take a step that will allow me to stand on my own two feet.
“I know this is not a great moment for Schalke fans, but I am a professional footballer and I am looking from a different perspective.
“I know this is not a great moment for Schalke fans, but I am a professional footballer and I am looking from a different perspective.”
“It is clear some fans will be upset.”
Bayern Munich have already admitted an interest in Neuer, with the club already asking for a meeting with Schalke to discuss a possible deal.
“Where there’s a will, there is a way,” Bayern president Uli Hoeness told German television channel ZDF.
“I think that we are determined to realise this. If Schalke wait until next year, they will get no money, so they will move to try to find an agreement.
“We hope that he comes this year, but if not, he’ll come next year.”
Schalke sports director Horst Heldt accepts Neuer will leave and has confirmed Bayern’s interest.
“We have taken note of this news with a heavy heart. We must accept and respect it,” said Heldt.
“Bayern have asked for a meeting but we said that at this moment this is not possible given the important matches we have coming up.
“But certainly there will be a meeting and there will be talks at some point.”