Cologne - FC Schalke 04 captain Benedikt Höwedes has announced he will stay at the club this summer.
The 27-year-old, who played every minute of Germany's successful 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign and who helped his team to a fifth-placed finish and UEFA Europa League qualification for next season, posted the following message on Twitter outlining his reasons for staying in Gelsenkrichen:
“Dear Schalke fans,
“I’ve been lucky enough to wear a Royal Blue jersey since I was 14. I’m grateful to play for a club whose heart is made of flesh and blood. With fans that make every game a home game.
“I said early on that I would not consider moving to another club in the Bundesliga. When enquiries then became a little more concrete, I asked myself the question: did I want to say goodbye to you and the league after a second half to the season like the one we had? No!
“As team captain I will do my bit to make sure that, with an ambitious new coach [Andre Breitenreiter] - with whom I’ve worked closely and extremely well with in the last few days - and a group of young, hungry players, we forge a new era for Schalke 04! With a unified team that shows that FC Schalke 04, despite the changing circumstances in professional football, will always be a club for workers and hard grafters.”