Joel Matip leaves Schalke to join Liverpool

Gelsenkirchen (Germany), Feb 16 (IANS) FC Schalke’s defender Joel Matip would not extend his contract and will join ENglish Premier League outfit Liverpool at the end of the season, the German Bundesliga club has confirmed.

Schalke tried in vain to bind Matip but the Cameroon international rejected a contract extension with the “Royal Blues”. The central defender agreed on a free transfer to Liverpool, reports Xinhua.

“Since May last year we held intensive talks with Joel and his advisor. It was soon clear that we couldn’t influence Joel’s decision,” Schalke’s sporting director Horst Heldt told the club’s official homepage on Monday.

The 24-year-old defender joined Schalke’s youth team in 2000 before he turned professional in 2009 to mark 23 goals in 239 appearances ever since.

“I have always said that I would leave Schalke for only one reason and that is to try something new. Therefore, a transfer within the Bundesliga never came into consideration for me. Although my decision wasn’t easy I am convinced that it is now the right time to take the next step,” Matip said.

Matip is, since 2010, part of Cameroon’s national team where he made one goal in 27 caps. He added: “Schalke will remain a big family for me. I was always proud to play for this great club. I will do everything to get the most out of this season.”

Schalke occupy currently the fifth place of the standings. They clash with Stuttgart at the 22nd round of Bundesliga on February 21.

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