Schalke releases midfielders Kevin Prince-Boateng, Sidney Sam

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Schalke released midfielders Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sidney Sam with immediate effect on Monday.

The move came less than 24 hours after Schalke's 2-0 loss in Cologne that threatens the team's hopes of gaining a place in next season's Europa League.

Boateng was sent home from Ghana's team at last year's World Cup in Brazil. He was signed from AC Milan in 2013 and still had another season on his contract. He never became the leader Schalke expected him to develop into.

Schalke director Horst Heldt said the "mutual trust" had been broken and that there was "no way back."

Also, midfielder Marco Hoeger has been suspended until the end of the week.

With two matches remaining in the season, Schalke is two points ahead of seventh-place Borussia Dortmund.

Schalke began the season with the ambition of qualifying for the Champions League but has struggled under coach Roberto di Matteo.

It was eliminated by Real Madrid in the second round of the Champions League.

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