MANCHESTER United and their manager Erik ten Hag have praised David De Gea’s time at the club following the Spanish goalkeeper’s departure.
De Gea announced today he was leaving the club after 12 years, with his contract expiring at the end of June.
“David De Gea has announced his departure from Manchester United, bringing an end to a 12-year stay during which he secured an array of trophies and personal accolades to cement his place as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the club,” the club stated today on their official website.
“Since joining from Atlético Madrid in 2011, David made 545 appearances for Manchester United with 190 clean sheets – both club records for a goalkeeper.
“He won the Premier League, FA Cup, UEFA Europa League and two Carabao Cups.
“His personal honours include two Premier League Golden Glove awards, a record four Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year awards (voted by fans), and four Players’ Player of the Year awards.”
The 32-year-old was first choice at United last season and won the Premier League’s Golden Glove for the most clean sheets.
However, he was considered not suitable to how Ten Hag wants his team to play. Yet, the Dutch coach led the tributes to De Gea, highlighting the goalkeeper’s qualities.
“It takes great quality and character to reach the level of even playing one game for Manchester United. To do it 545 times over 12 years is a special achievement, particularly in the goalkeeping position where every game puts you in the spotlight,” Ten Hag said.
“To have won Player of the Year awards from both the fans and his team-mates, each on four occasions, shows the level of his performance and he will always be remembered as one of the very best goalkeepers in the history of the club.
“I am personally grateful for the 25 clean sheets he helped provide last season and his overall contribution on the pitch during my first year at the club. All the players and staff send him our very best wishes for the next phase of his outstanding career.”
United’s Football Director John Murtough added: “David leaves Manchester United with the deepest respect and warmest appreciation of everyone associated with the club. To have set new club records for goalkeeper appearances and clean sheets, surpassing Alex Stepney and Peter Schmeichel respectively, shows just how great a player he has been for us.
“Just as important are his qualities as a person, and he will be missed by all of us who have had the privilege of working with him over the past 12 years. David will always be part of the Manchester United family and we look forward to welcoming him back to Old Trafford in future as a legend of the club.”
In announcing his departure, De Gea said an emotional goodbye to Manchester United and the club’s fans in a social media post.
He wrote: “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’ve achieved a lot since my dear Sir Alex Ferguson brought me to this club.
“I took incredible pride everytime I pulled on this shirt, to lead the team, to represent this institution, the biggest club in the world was an honour only bestows upon a few lucky footballers.
“It’s been an unforgettable and successful period since I came here. I didn’t think from leaving Madrid as a young boy we would achieve what we did together.
“Now, it’s the right time to undertake a new challenge, to push myself again in new surroundings.
“Manchester will always be in my heart, Manchester has shaped me and will never leave me. We’ve seen it all.”