Antonio Rudiger has confirmed he will be leaving Chelsea this summer, with a move to Real Madrid set to be announced imminently.
The 29-year-old's departure was announced by Thomas Tuchel, however the Germany international has now confirmed on his own terms that he will be heading for the exit doors at the end of the season.
After joining in 2017 from AS Roma, Rudiger has become a popular figure in the dressing but his time is coming to an end when his contract expires.
Chelsea failed to agree an extension with the centre-back, not helped by the sanctions imposed on the club stopping them from trying to negotiate a deal, and it sees Rudiger on his way to Spain.
He has agreed a four-year deal at the Bernabeu to sign for Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid. He has one final game left for the Blues this weekend, against Watford, which will allow him to say farewell and goodbye to the fans in person at Stamford Bridge.
But he left a letter in an interview with The Players' Tribune expressing his gratitude and love for Chelsea, also outlining the contract negotiations.
He said: "I leave this club with a heavy heart. It has meant everything to me. Even this season, with all the complications, has been enjoyable. Football is football. We are blessed to play a game for a living that we would play for free anyway. In fact, when the financial restrictions were being rumoured, we were all laughing about having to take a bus or a smaller plane or whatever to the matches. I mean, a small plane?
"Oh no!!! What am I going to do?
"Come on. Do you know where I come from? A small plane is still a privilege. Honestly, a bus to Manchester sounds kind of cool. Me and the boys would have made it fun, for sure.
"Unfortunately, my contract negotiations had already started to get difficult last fall. Business is business, but when you don’t hear any news from the club from August to January, the situation becomes complicated. After the first offer, there was a long gap of just nothing. We’re not robots, you know? You cannot wait for months with so much uncertainty about your future. Obviously, no one saw the sanctions coming, but in the end, other big clubs were showing interest, and I had to make a decision. I will leave it at that, because business aside, I have nothing bad to say about this club.
"Chelsea will always be in my heart. London will always be my home. I came here alone, and now I have a wife and two beautiful kids. I also have a new brother for life named Kova. I have an FA Cup, a Europa League and a Champions League medal. And of course, I have hundreds of memories that will stay with me forever."