Leon Goretzka has asked Schalke fans not to turn on him after agreeing a deal to join Bayern Munich because that could "make it hard" for the team to achieve their targets.
After months of speculation about his future, Schalke and Bayern confirmed on Friday that the Germany international had agreed to join the Bundesliga leaders when his contract expires at the end of the season.
There had been reports that Bayern would attempt to bring Goretzka to the Allianz Arena this month, but that never materialised and the 22-year-old will remain in Gelsenkirchen for the remainder of the campaign.
However, he recognises that such a scenario could potentially see him become the target of angry Schalke fans and he has pleaded with them to go easy on him, as to do otherwise – he believes – could be detrimental to the rest of the team as they battle RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund for second place.
In a statement on his official Facebook account, Goretzka wrote: "FC Schalke 04 announced at today's [Friday] press conference that I will leave the club on June 30.
FC Schalke 04 hat in Abstimmung mit mir auf der heutigen Pressekonferenz verkündet, dass ich den Verein zum 30. Juni...Posted by Leon Goretzka on Friday, 19 January 2018
"I know that I will disappoint you all and you will have little understanding of it. Any explanation I would make now will be very much appreciated by you.
"I don't want to leave now, because I'm still playing the second half [of the season], and everyone who knows me just a little knows that I'm always going to give my all. I want to return Schalke to the Champions League and would like to win the DFB-Pokal in Berlin on May 19.
"I have had conversations with [chairman] Clemens Tonnies, [sporting director] Christian Heidel and [coach] Domenico Tedesco in the last few days. They were very sad and disappointed too, especially because they gave everything and left no stone unturned in an attempt to keep me at Schalke.
"In a conversation on Wednesday, in particular the coach has made me even more aware of my absolute duty and told me he 100 per cent believes in me.
"I want and I will give that back, because it is no empty phrase when I say that the five years at Schalke will remain firmly in my head and in my heart.
"That's why I want to ask you for one thing; you don't have to agree with my decision, but don't make it hard for us because we have targets that we want to achieve.
"And I want to deliver a decisive share!"
|MLS Review: Royer leaves it late for Red Bulls, Dallas bounce back|
|Crotty concussed, Folau injured|
|DFB president Grindel sorry Ozil felt ´deserted´|
|Busch picks up first win of season in Night Race|
|NASCAR results at Bristol: Kurt Busch picks up first win of season in Night Race|
|Woakes welcomes back ´big-game player´ Stokes|
|´Genius´ Messi still amazes Valverde|
|All Blacks, Springboks await Namibia at Rugby World Cup|
|Federer to face Djokovic after Goffin withdraws|
|Rain halts plays at Wyndham Championship|
|De Gea will extend contract soon, says Mourinho|
|Halep to meet Bertens in Cincinnati final|
|Frampton set for Warrington fight after dominant Windsor Park win|
|Messi makes LaLiga history with Barcelona´s 6000th goal|
|MC Alger defeat throws quarter-final chase wide open|
|Barcelona 3 Deportivo Alaves 0: Messi´s milestone goal sets up victory|
|Djokovic on course for Masters 1000 history after Cilic victory|
|It´s on! - Wilder fight confirmed after Fury defeats Pianeta|
|Like Cruyff before him, Guardiola favouring Foden´s style over substance|
|Ronaldo tweets debut delight after Juve win|
|Chelsea are not title contenders yet, claims Sarri|
|Bayern Munich boss Kovac planning for Boateng stay|
|Championship Review: West Brom crush QPR as Leeds stay perfect|
|Allegri pleased with Ronaldo despite goalless Juventus debut|
|Chelsea can produce magic with Sarri in charge - Hazard|
|Emery ´happy without the result´ as Arsenal comeback falls short|
|Gordon confirms Cleveland Browns return|
|Eight shots and only 30 passes - Ronaldo´s Juventus debut in Opta numbers|
|Cristiano Ronaldo´s debuts: Best impressed, scoring a penalty & a blank for Juventus|
|Old boy Escare haunts Catalans in big Wigan win|
|Preston North End 2 Stoke City 2: Super sub Crouch salvages a point|
|Pochettino vows not to discuss Alderweireld future before five-minute answer|
|Waring, Aiken lead the way as Olesen stays in the hunt|
|Linking play, forcing saves and clashing with goalkeeper - Cristiano Ronaldo´s Juventus debut|
|Chelsea 3 Arsenal 2: Alonso snatches win after Gunners comeback|
|West Ham still haunted by last season - Pellegrini|
|Puel defends Vardy after Wolves red card|
|Chievo 2 Juventus 3: Ronaldo´s debut ends in dramatic win|
|Mbappe: Neymar is Paris Saint-Germain´s superstar|
|Pickford should have seen red - Hughes fumes over challenge on Ings|
|Kohli and Rahane star as India edge day one|
|AC Milan´s Strinic sidelined by heart problem|
|Kane happy to banish August goal hoodoo|
|Guingamp 1 Paris Saint-Germain 3: Mbappe returns to inspire comeback|
|Springboks´ second-half revival punishes Pumas|
|Finally! Kane scores a Premier League goal in August|
|Warnock enjoyed ´poetic justice´ of Kenedy´s penalty woe|
|Holders Eintracht Frankfurt stunned by Ulm in DFB-Pokal|
|West Ham 1 Bournemouth 2: Wilson, Cook condemn Hammers to successive losses|
|Tottenham 3 Fulham 1: Trippier and Kane help Spurs avoid Wembley wobble|
|Leicester City 2 Wolves 0: Lucky Foxes win despite Vardy red card|
|Everton 2 Southampton 1: Richarlison continues fine start|
|Drochtersen/Assel 0 Bayern Munich 1: Lewandowski spares Bayern´s blushes|
|Violent hack, no passes, missed penalty - Kenedy´s Cardiff nightmare|
|Ronaldo handed Juventus debut against Chievo|
|Cheika and Hooper frustrated by second-half slump|
|Hansen issues warning after All Blacks win Wallabies ´prizefight´|
|Stuttgart stay good for Pavard, says Reschke|
|You can´t buy class - United boss Mourinho blasts City documentary|
|Cardiff City 0 Newcastle United 0: Penalty miss rounds off abject day for Kenedy|
|Lopetegui open to rotating Real Madrid goalkeepers|
|´World´s best´ Alisson will be difficult to replace, says Roma boss Di Francesco|
|Dragons and Sharks pounce on Panthers after four get sin-binned|
|AC Milan situation has proved FFP works - UEFA president Ceferin|
|Marseille´s Garcia uninterested in striker despite Balotelli link|
|Goodhue sparkles on debut as All Blacks thump Wallabies|
|I feel like chicken tonight - Saunders game for a laugh after Wilder fowl play|
|Aubameyang-Lacazette partnership possible for Arsenal|
|Pant handed debut as India ring changes at Trent Bridge|
|Pochettino pledges to protect Kane|