Leon Goretzka has asked Schalke fans not to turn on him after agreeing a deal to join Bayern Munich because that could "make it hard" for the team to achieve their targets.
After months of speculation about his future, Schalke and Bayern confirmed on Friday that the Germany international had agreed to join the Bundesliga leaders when his contract expires at the end of the season.
There had been reports that Bayern would attempt to bring Goretzka to the Allianz Arena this month, but that never materialised and the 22-year-old will remain in Gelsenkirchen for the remainder of the campaign.
However, he recognises that such a scenario could potentially see him become the target of angry Schalke fans and he has pleaded with them to go easy on him, as to do otherwise – he believes – could be detrimental to the rest of the team as they battle RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund for second place.
In a statement on his official Facebook account, Goretzka wrote: "FC Schalke 04 announced at today's [Friday] press conference that I will leave the club on June 30.
FC Schalke 04 hat in Abstimmung mit mir auf der heutigen Pressekonferenz verkündet, dass ich den Verein zum 30. Juni...Posted by Leon Goretzka on Friday, 19 January 2018
"I know that I will disappoint you all and you will have little understanding of it. Any explanation I would make now will be very much appreciated by you.
"I don't want to leave now, because I'm still playing the second half [of the season], and everyone who knows me just a little knows that I'm always going to give my all. I want to return Schalke to the Champions League and would like to win the DFB-Pokal in Berlin on May 19.
"I have had conversations with [chairman] Clemens Tonnies, [sporting director] Christian Heidel and [coach] Domenico Tedesco in the last few days. They were very sad and disappointed too, especially because they gave everything and left no stone unturned in an attempt to keep me at Schalke.
"In a conversation on Wednesday, in particular the coach has made me even more aware of my absolute duty and told me he 100 per cent believes in me.
"I want and I will give that back, because it is no empty phrase when I say that the five years at Schalke will remain firmly in my head and in my heart.
"That's why I want to ask you for one thing; you don't have to agree with my decision, but don't make it hard for us because we have targets that we want to achieve.
"And I want to deliver a decisive share!"
|Eli Apple embarrassed by 2017 antics, ready to move forward|
|Bills release Richie Incognito from reserve/retired list|
|Gentry and Pelicans want Cousins back in New Orleans|
|MLB extends Blue Jays closer Osuna´s administrative leave|
|Lloris, Jedinak and Kjaer ask FIFA to allow Guerrero to play at World Cup|
|Wolfsburg preserve Bundesliga status after play-off win over Kiel|
|Zidane was my idol and always will be - Wijnaldum|
|Liverpool ready to fly out of the blocks in Kiev - Henderson|
|Montreal Impact 0 LA Galaxy 1: Ibrahimovic sent off for slapping opponent|
|Real Madrid v Liverpool: Salah, Ronaldo lead the line in combined XI|
|Bertens keeps hat-trick hopes alive in Nuremberg|
|Monfils and Mannarino fail to fly the flag in Lyon|
|Morata, Fabregas, Herrera and more in Spain´s World Cup rejects XI|
|Reina to face FIGC hearing|
|Emery set to be appointed by Arsenal - reports|
|LeBron ´appreciative´ of hometown effort to put up statue of him|
|Cazorla leaves Arsenal after injury nightmare|
|Derby´s Rowett seeks permission for Stoke talks|
|Messi physically and mentally ready for the World Cup, Sampaoli proclaims|
|Murray expected to return at Rosmalen Grass Court Championships|
|More to Madrid than just Ronaldo - Robertson|
|Wolff: Red Bull and Ferrari favourites in Monaco|
|Iniesta hailed by Xavi as ´the most talented player in the history of Spain´|
|If you Googled ´European nights´, Liverpool would be top result - Klopp|
|Icardi cut from Argentina World Cup squad|
|Test recall a ´fantastic surprise´ for Buttler|
|Klopp needs Premier League to be a Liverpool great – Johnston|
|Salah is ´definitely´ world´s best - Lovren|
|Rhinos captain Watkins ruled out for eight months|
|No clue - Klopp defiant over Can to Juventus claims|
|Younis tips Babar for Pakistan greatness|
|Germany squad numbers hint at World Cup good news for Neuer|
|WATCH: Moto3 rider makes spectacular jump over crashed rival|
|Leaving out Morata ´painful´ for Spain boss Lopetegui|
|Gustard to leave England role for Harlequins|
|Nainggolan retires from Belgium duty after World Cup snub|
|Spain striker Morata misses out on World Cup selection|
|LeBron or Kawhi could lead Lakers to the Finals - World Peace|
|Serena steps up Roland Garros training ahead of French Open|
|Nainggolan left out of Belgium´s World Cup squad|
|The long goodbye: Iniesta sits alone in Camp Nou after final Barcelona match|
|Wane to leave Warriors at end of season|
|Dr Fury will see you now - Tyson plans future career in medicine|
|Harden, D´Antoni rue ´soft´ Rockets performance in Warriors drubbing|
|Liverpool players can change their lives in Kiev, says Gerrard|
|Real Madrid v Liverpool: Can great deeds of the past fuel the bid for Champions League glory?|
|Wash your mouth out! - Curry´s expletive outburst earns scolding from mother|
|Rakitic lost for words as Iniesta heads for Barcelona exit|
|Conte: Chelsea must overhaul squad to change style|
|Johnston: Liverpool can´t lose Suarez, Coutinho and Salah!|
|Messi: I like Griezmann, he´s one of the best|
|Ohtani says he´s not good enough for Home Run Derby yet|
|Mendy: France are eyeing World Cup glory|
|Scott accepts two-week ban for Walker punch|
|Braves rally for six runs in the ninth to defeat Marlins|
|MLS Review: Red Bulls upstage Atlanta thanks to Wright-Phillips brace|
|Warriors breeze past Rockets in game three|
|We have a quality squad – Man City chairman hints at caution in transfer market|
|Wise cruises to maiden PGA Tour victory at Byron Nelson|
|Matic: United can fight for Premier League and Champions League with experience|
|Golden Knights GM on Stanley Cup Finals berth: I don´t know how we did it|
|I did a ´s*** job´ defending LeBron James – Morris|
|Dembele suffers sprained right ankle|
|We know Fellaini´s not going to renew with United – Mirabelli suggests Milan move|
|Cavs´ Lue not satisfied with just one win|
|They even whistled at Torres – Simeone backs Griezmann|
|I arrived as a boy, I leave as a man – Iniesta in emotional Barcelona farewell|
|Lingard: Wembley loss my worst feeling in football|
|Cahill: Conte uncertainty affecting Chelsea|
|Sarri has run out of time – Napoli chief De Laurentiis|