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Zé to leave Bayern

Brazilian and club unable to agree new terms

Zé Roberto and Bayern are parting company. After scoring 16 goals in 169 Bundesliga appearances for Munich, the Brazilian has been unable to agree an extension to his current contract with FCB, which expires on 30 June 2009. “We offered Zé an extension until 30 June 2010, but unfortunately he didn’t want to accept it,” commented chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

The Bayern chief thanked the player for his exceptional service to the club. “Zé Roberto has been a perfect partner to Bayern for six years and will always remain a good friend of the club. We wish Zé and his family all the very best for the future,” Rummenigge said.

Zé departs with pride

“I’m leaving with a great feeling of pride. Pride in what I’ve delivered,” Zé Roberto was quoted as saying in Wednesday’s tz newspaper. “My return to Bayern after a season with Santos was particularly special. I’m leaving the club with my head held high. I’m going, but a part of me will always be here. Bayern will always be close to my heart,” the 34-year-old continued. “I have no reason to complain whatsoever.”

From 2002 to 2006, and after his return from Santos in 2007-8, Zé Roberto won the domestic double four times with Bayern. “I’ve had the most successful spell of my career here in Munich, we’ve enjoyed plenty of success, and I’ve always felt totally at home at the club and in the city,” said the former Brazil international, who retired from the international scene in the summer of 2007 to focus completely on his club commitments.

Arrival from Bayer in 2002

“I’ll never forget what the club has made possible for me, and I want to thank Uli Hoeneß, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Karl Hopfner for that,” said Zé, who switched to FCB from Bayer Leverkusen in 2002. The player said he was considering a number of offers both in Germany and elsewhere: “We’ll decide where I’m playing next season in the next few days.”

Zé Roberto is the third player definitely leaving Munich this summer, along with Lukas Podolski (FC Köln) and Massimo Oddo, who returns to AC Milan after a season on loan. There are four confirmed new signings: Mario Gomez (VfB Stuttgart), Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (Zenit St. Petersburg), Iviva Olic (Hamburger SV) and Alexander Baumjohann (Borussia Mönchengladbach). Andreas Görlitz also returns to the club from a two-year spell on loan to relegated Karlsruhe.

On behalf of Bayern fans everywhere, says: Obrigado, Zé!