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Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka, one of the most sought-after young players in Germany, is heading to Bayern Munich this summer. It’s not fair. But it was inevitable. On Friday, both clubs announced that the 22-year-old had signed a pre-contract agreement with the German champions.
Goretzka, however, won’t make his move until his Schalke contract expires in June, which means he now has five awkward months to navigate in Gelsenkirchen. And if there were any doubts about just how awkward they’d be, those were put to rest on Sunday.
Goretzka started Schalke’s home match against Hannover. As he and his teammates warmed up, Schalke supporters unveiled multiple banners directed at the German international.
Two of the banners read: “Neither money nor trophies are worth more than our club! Anyone who does not appreciate that can [expletive] off immediately!”
Another one, according to one translation, read: “Letting down 1,000 friends for emotionless trophies and superficial popinjays.”
— Robin Haack (@robin_haack) January 21, 2018
Bayern has won each of the last five Bundesliga titles, and is well on its way to a sixth. It is also by far the richest club in Germany, and almost undoubtedly offered Goretzka more money than Schalke did – though Schalke reportedly offered what would have been the biggest contract in club history.
It’s therefore difficult to blame Goretzka for going to Bayern. Ninety percent of players, if in the same position, would have made the same decision. However unfortunate that is, it’s just how modern football works.
But, that being said, Schalke fans have every right to express their anger. So good on them for doing just that, and for not crossing the line. Far worse has been done to departing or former players. This, honestly, is relatively respectful and eloquent.
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