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.
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 is the goalkeeper with the most appearances in the club’s history; De Gea broke Peter Schmeichel’s club clean sheets record last season, during which he also won the Premier League Golden Glove.
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.
In a farewell message to United Fans on his official Twitter account, De Gea expressed his unwavering gratitude and appreciation for the love from the last 12 years.
“My farewell message to all Manchester United supporters is extremely difficult to write.
“I want 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 and gave me the opportunity to wear this badge.
“I took incredible pride every time I pulled on this shirt. To lead the team, to represent this institution, the biggest club in the world, was an honour only bestowed 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, new beginnings.
“Manchester has shaped me and will never leave me. This club, Old Trafford and our incredible supporters will forever be in my heart.
“We’ve seen it all.”
De Gea left Manchester United after failing to agree terms on a new contract. The Spanish goalkeeper leaves Old Trafford as a free agent after 12 seasons at the club.
United spent several months in negotiations with De Gea over a new contract – but are understood to have not formally offered terms to the goalkeeper.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur