Bastian Schweinsteiger has bid farewell to Bayern Munich fans in a statement and video posted to Twitter ahead of his move to Manchester United.
The Germany midfielder is set to join the Premier League club upon the successful completion of a medical and said goodbye to the supporters who have followed him in Munich for the past 17 years.
He said: "I know that has been a lot of speculation about my future in recent weeks and months and I just wanted to thank you for the fantastic time we spent together.
"It started in the Olympiastadion and continued into the Allianz Arena. It was a really fantastic time and we experienced some great moments with 15 national titles, including the historic treble and other highlights.
"We are always going to have a bond and I will keep you in my heart forever.
"I also want to thank all the employees at the Sabener Strasse (training ground) for the great time we had together - unfortunately I can't name everybody, but thanks for everybody, you helped me a great deal.
"I hope you, dear fans, understand that I have chosen this path now. I think it's a great challenge and I'm looking forward to it, although I will never forget you.
"I will always hold you here [in my heart] and I hope we see each other again soon. Yours, Basti."
The midfielder added in a written statement: "The decision was very hard to make because you and FCB have and always will be an extremely important part of my life.
The best and worst kits from around the World
The best and worst kits from around the World
1/43 Legia Warsaw away
This military green kit with a black sash is certainly eye-catching - although we can't decide if we love it or hate it. The badge, as ever, is a superb piece of minimalist design
2/43 Hamburg away
Looks like a bit of throw away training top. Not working
3/43 Inter Milan away
The sponsor (this will become a theme) ruins what is an extremely smart bit of kit
4/43 Zenit St Petersburg away
The light blue colour is nearly always a winner, but this kit launch stands out for the bonkers Imperial Russian background
5/43 Borussia Monchengladbach away
As if the shades of green weren't hideous enough, they've stuck a big yellow blob right in the middle of it
6/43 Leeds United home
You can rarely go wrong with white and blue trim. Just make sure to keep a sponsor off
7/43 Atletico Madrid away
Their red and white home shirt with blue shorts is as lovely as ever, but the sleek away shirt looks just as nice this year
8/43 Wolfsburg (away)
The home shirt (on the right) is decent without being brilliant, but it's the away kit that is an eyesore. Too many colours
9/43 AC Milan third
The shirt isn't anything too horrendous (it's the dark green) but these shorts are awful. Yellow and green has often been used in tandem, but there are too many shades of green here and a useless use of red
10/43 RC Lens away
Now here is how you use a bit of fluorescent colouring. The moody black and grey diagonal stripes get a flash of colour (plus no sponsor!!). Umbro onto a winner again
11/43 Bayern Munich away
Doesn't seem as if much effort has gone into this one; it's the kind of unmemorable effort that provokes neither love nor hate
12/43 Figueirense third
Not much to add beyond it being drop dead gorgeous
13/43 St Pauli home
St Pauli kits have become a bit of a cult collectors item in recent years, the chocolate brown kits always offering a unique choice. This mostly white kit isn't quite a classic, but has the rainbow stripes on the sleeves
14/43 Rayo Vallecano away
The stripes represent different social injustices and the club will donate money to charity for every shirt sold. Top effort
15/43 CD Guadalajara home
Another club to adopt the rainbow sash, the Spanish third division side will donate five per cent of sales to an anti-homophobia charity
16/43 V-Varen Nagasaki
It's modelled on a tuxedo to celebrate the J-League club's 10th anniversary. Who knows why
17/43 Everton home
Classic style by Umbro
18/43 West Ham
Umbro with another winner - the shirt was so popular that the website broke
19/43 Barcelona home
Barcelona have dropped the vertical stripes for the first time in the club's 115-year history
20/43 Barcelona third (rumoured)
This Nike template will be popping up quite frequently...
21/43 Juventus home
It's hard to go wrong with black and white stripes
22/43 Juventus away
Juve have had some classic pink kits over the years; this isn't one of them and has too much going on in the mid-section. Plain pink with a touch of red and black would have been plenty
23/43 Crystal Palace
We were delirious when Palace released their kit without a sponsor earlier this summer...
24/43 Crystal Palace home
... and then they went and stuck an online casino on the front. Which one of these two would you wear? Not a hard choice for us here
25/43 Fiorentina home
Old school French brand make a return to football with a classic kit for La Viola
26/43 Sturm Graz home
27/43 Sturm Graz away
Oh dear, oh dear.
28/43 Sturm Graz third
How did these ever get made???
29/43 Swansea City away
Swansea's home shirt is a classic white with gold trim; this is horrible
30/43 Arsenal home
Another top effort from Puma for the Gunners
31/43 Arsenal away (rumour)
However, this leaked away shirt is much less impressive. The colour scheme is right but it doesn't work
32/43 Troyes third kit
We're not sure what to make of this effort
33/43 Manchester City home (rumoured)
Great effort from Nike if this turns out to be the home kit - lovely white trim and a smart collar
34/43 Manchester City home (rumoured)
What can't be seen on this image is the blue min graphic on the sleeves - undecided on this one at the moment
35/43 Manchester City home (rumoured)
Here's that gruesome template again...
36/43 Real Madrid away
Looks like something one might wear on the way home from the gym or to lounge around in
37/43 Nottingham Forest home
Wow, this is a real beauty from the Midlands club to celebrate the club's 150th anniversary
38/43 Kawasaki Frontale home
The Japanese club have released a smart limited addition kit in tribute to their new main stand
39/43 Evian home
The French club always produce interesting kits - for better or worse - with their pink, white and blue colour scheme. Undecided on this one
40/43 Roma away
You can't quite see it from this image, but look closely and there is a map of Rome embedded on this smart white shirt
41/43 Roma third (rumoured)
Unfortunately, Roma went for that template. Just horrible schemes that lack imagination
42/43 Southampton away
Green and blue is not exactly a classic colour combo and this one just doesn't work. At all
43/43 Porto away
AVERT YOUR EYES
"Nevertheless, I would like to again gain experience at a new club.
"My destination is Manchester United. I hope you understand my decision. No one can take away the incredible journey we had together. #MiaSanMia."
Schweinsteiger, who will become the first German to play for United's first team, will leave behind a sizeable gap in Bayern's squad by leaving the Allianz Arena.
He has been on the Bavarian club's books for 17 years and won eight Bundesliga titles, seven DFB-Pokals and the Champions League with Bayern among other successes.
Former teammate Philipp Lahm told Sport1 television: "It's a pity that our paths are now dividing. We've been through so much together so it really is a shame.
"We played football together for the first time when we were 16. We're going to miss him.
"Anybody who knows him knows that he is always looking for challenges so we've got to accept his decision."
Forward Thomas Muller, who has also been linked with a move to United, added: "It's strange that Basti's gone. He's done sensationally for this club.
"He's not going to be forgotten in a rush. I wish him a lot of luck. This is how things work in football."
Meanwhile, former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson described Schweinsteiger as "top drawer" and a "true leader of men" who can drive the Red Devils back to the top.
Robson, 58, told The Sun: "Schweinsteiger is the kind of player and personality United have been short of.
"There is Michael Carrick, of course, who has that same experience and knowledge. When he was not playing last season, we saw that United were not the same team.
"Schweinsteiger is absolutely top drawer and his record and reputation speak for themselves.
"He is the kind of player that can lead United back to the very top."Reuse content