David De Gea confirms Manchester United exit after contract expiration: ‘It was unforgettable’

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David De Gea and Manchester United have confirmed the goalkeeper’s exit from the club.

The 32-year-old’s contract at United expired in June and, despite a period of negotiations over several months, he was unable to reach an agreement with the club to extend his stay.

United see De Gea’s exit as a way to develop the team and are looking at several options to fill in the first place in Erik ten Hag’s squad, including Inter Milan’s Andre Onana and Dean Henderson, who spent last season on loan at Nottingham Forest.

United are continuing negotiations with Inter Milan but a potential deal is expected to be several days away now.

De Gea, who joined the club in 2011 from Atletico Madrid, announced his departure via social media on Saturday, saying goodbye to United fans and thanking them for their support over the years.

He said: “I just wanted to send this farewell message to all Manchester United supporters. I would like to express my unwavering gratitude and appreciation for the love from the last 12 years. We have achieved so much since Sir Alex Ferguson brought me to this club.

“I felt incredibly proud every time I put on that shirt, to lead the team, to represent this institution, the biggest club in the world was an honor bestowed on only a few lucky footballers. It’s been an unforgettable and successful period since I came here. I’m thinking of leaving Madrid as a boy. We’ll achieve what we’ve done together.

“Now, it’s the right time to take on a new challenge, to push myself again into new surroundings. Manchester will always be in my heart, Manchester formed me and will never leave me. We’ve seen it all.”

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De Gea left United after making 545 appearances in total for the club, keeping 190 clean sheets and winning eight trophies, including the Premier League, Europa League and FA Cup.

United vice-captain Bruno Fernandes immediately took to social media to acknowledge De Gea’s contribution to the team, writing: “You deserved to say goodbye on the pitch with all the fans cheering you on for all the beautiful memories.

“You made history at the club and your name will never be forgotten, and no one can take that away from you. All the best for what is to come for you and your family.”

Ten Hag released a statement on United’s website, congratulating De Gea on his career with United, and wishing him well for the future.

Ten Hag said: “It takes great quality and personality to get to the level of playing a single match for Manchester United. To do that 545 times over 12 years is a special achievement, particularly in the goalkeeping position where every game puts you in the spotlight.

“Winning Player of the Year awards from both the fans and teammates, each on four occasions, shows his level of performance and he will always be remembered as one of the best goalkeepers in the club’s history.

“I am personally grateful for the 25 clean sheets he helped last season and his overall contribution on the pitch during my first year at the club. All the players and staff send him our best wishes for the next phase of his fantastic career.”

(Photo: Getty Images)

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