MUNICH (AP) " German defender Holger Badstuber has thanked Bayern Munich fans for their support ahead of his departure after 15 years at the club at the end of the season.

"Bayern was true love for me" Badstuber said on Twitter on Sunday.

"Times change, people too. There will always be a link to the club. But it's good that I start a whole new chapter in the summer. I'm really looking forward to it," said Badstuber, who has spent the second half of the season on loan at Bundesliga rival Schalke.

Bayern surprised many on Friday when it announced that Badstuber's contract with the club will expire on June 30, contrary to reports that it lasted for another season.

Advertisement

"It was clear from the start that following his loan spell with Schalke, Holger Badstuber would look for a new experience, probably abroad," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said. "Bayern Munich wishes Holger Badstuber all the best and thanks him for his exemplary commitment during almost 15 years."

Badstuber initially joined Schalke to gain more playing time after struggling with repeated injuries in recent years. He played in only three games for Bayern in the first half of the season, starting just once. He then made 10 league appearances for Schalke.

Altogether Badstuber made 151 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern, which he joined as a youth from Stuttgart in 2002. The 28-year-old has played 31 times for Germany, the last of which was a friendly against Australia in March 2015.