Veteran midfielder Clarence Seedorf has announced his departure from AC Milan at a press conference on Thursday.
The 36-year-old’s role in the squad had diminished in 2011/12, and with his contract set to expire, coupled with his interest in a move to Brazil, an exit was on the cards for some time.
Speaking to reporters in Via Turati while accompanied by vice-president Adriano Galliani, Seedorf reflected on his 10 years at the club, saying Milan would remain in his heart forever.
“I leave (Milan) after 10 fantastic years, I came here at a crucial moment in my career and after thinking long and hard, I’d do the same thing again,” Seedorf said.
“I’ll have to evaluate my options now and look for a project that stands out. I am very happy with the way I lived my experience at Milan.
“They were busy years, many seasons have passed by quickly, like all the good things in life. I thank the president (Silvio Berlusconi), Adriano Galliani, the staff and the people of Milanello. I hope to greet all the fans with dignity when the time comes.
“I’ve been here 13 years and had two children born here. There will always be a special bond, especially with the city of Milan.
“It was a very important path to take, I spent half of my life in Milan with many team-mates who have allowed me to always remain competitive.”
Seedorf said nothing had been decided as to where his next destination lies, but is confident AC Milan will enjoy more success in the coming years despite relinquishing their Serie A title to Juventus.
“I think I will play for two more years, but now it is pointless to think about the next steps of my life,” he said.
“There was nothing premeditated, I had not decided anything until a few days ago. The choice of leaving AC Milan came about only recently. The relationship is such that we would still have found a renewal agreement.
“I always think about the future, I like new experiences, the club has always enjoyed a peaceful atmosphere.
“I leave a team, struggling to remain competitive in Italy and Europe, at a difficult time for everyone in the economy.
“I think it’s only a matter of time before the team a few years ago is reborn. Generations pass by, but AC Milan will stay at the top everywhere.
“Milan is in my DNA. I will always be close to them whenever they need my help and support.”
As for Zlatan Ibrahimovic waiting to occupy his number 10 shirt, Seedorf said: “I’m happy to give my jersey to Ibra, he has the talent to honour it.”
Seedorf joined AC Milan in 2002 from city rivals Inter and quickly became an important member of the squad, going on to make 300 Serie A appearances for the side.
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