German champions Bayern Munich said farewell to their captain, Mark van Bommel, on Tuesday after the Dutchman joined Italian club AC Milan on what was believed to have been a free transfer.
Van Bommel (left) has played with some of Europe's biggest clubs
Dutch international Mark van Bommel bid farewell to German champions Bayern Munich on Tuesday after joining Italian giants AC Milan.
The transfer, which took place at van Bommel's request, came five months before the end of the defensive midfielder's contract.
"It was Mark's express wish to be released from his contract early for sporting reasons, in order to be able to move to AC Milan immediately," Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
"Mark was always a model professional, an important and successful player for Bayern Munich, and also a fantastic captain."
Neither club has released the details of the deal, but with so little time remaining on his contract it's believed van Bommel's move to Milan was a free transfer.
German daily Bild reported that relations between van Bommel and Bayern coach Louis van Gaal had become severely strained in the lead-up to the transfer.
Van Bommel admitted in an interview with the paper that he did not say goodbye to his coach and countryman, who guided Bayern to a Bundesliga title last season as well as to the final of the UEFA Champions League.
Van Bommel had joined Bayern in 2006 in a 6-million-euro ($8.1 million) move from Spanish highflyers Barcelona.
His honors with Bayern included two Bundesliga titles and two German Cup trophies.
Author: Darren Mara (AFP, dpa)
Editor: Nancy Isenson