De Gea and United confirmed their expected parting of ways on Saturday afternoon with the player and club posting messages of mutual appreciation. The Spaniard leaves Old Trafford after 12 years, over 500 games and voted as the club’s player of the year four times.
WHAT THEY SAID: The Spaniard posted on Instagram: “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 every time I pulled on this shirt.
“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. 🤘🏼❤️”
Manager Erik ten Hag added: “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.
“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.”
#SPORT For more than a decade, you were the main reason Manchester stayed United
So many of your breathtaking saves will remain. To name a few: the Luis Suarez save in 2013, your denial of Juan Mata’s free-kick, the heroics versus Chelsea, Everton and Liverpool in 2014-15, the record-breaking 14-save performance against Arsenal in 2017, that supershow versus Spurs in 2019, Mark Noble’s penalty stop and the ridiculous saves versus Roma last year and yet more de GOAT stuff against Leicester earlier this year.
Seeing you blossom from a feeble boy to a United legend has been a deeply emotional and rewarding journey. For more than a decade, you were the main reason Manchester stayed United.
For a bagful of trophies and no less than 190 clean sheets, not to mention an abundance of memories along the way, I would like to say: Thank You David de GOAT. You will forever be a legend. It was, and still is, my dream to see you win the Champions League. Something tells me that it will come true one day, even if it is not for the club where you and I would have wanted it.