Ki Sung-Yueng has said thank you to Swansea City – and the Jack Army – after confirming that he will leave the club this summer.
Ki, who will leave on a free transfer because his contract is up, says he will depart the Liberty Stadium with a heavy heart.
The South Korean international has revealed that he had hoped to stay on with the Swans until relegation was confirmed by Sunday’s defeat to Stoke City.
“It’s a hard decision to make because I have played five seasons for Swansea,” said Ki, who scored 12 goals in 162 appearances for the Swans.
“In my career that is the longest time I have played for any club, so Swansea has been a big part of my life.
“I really enjoyed my time at the club and I want to say thank you to everyone.
“I want to thank all the staff, all of my team-mates and the fans, who I feel I have always had a good relationship with. Swansea gave me the chance to play in the Premier League and I leave with a lot of good memories.
“The League Cup win against Bradford is unforgettable for me and the season we had under Garry (Monk) when we finished eighth is also a very good memory.
“I am just sad to be leaving after relegation. I was part of the team that went down and I accept a lot of responsibility for what happened.”
Ki stated during the season that he would discuss his Swans future at the end of the campaign.
But the 29-year-old midfielder has made the decision to move on following the club’s drop into the Championship.
“If we had stayed up, my first option would have been to stay at Swansea,” Ki added.
“I could have signed for another club from January, but I didn’t do that because I thought we would stay up and then we would talk about a new contract at the end of the season.
“Even after we lost at Bournemouth, I didn’t think we would go down.
“But now that has not happened, I have to think about where I will go next.
“I think I have to move on for a new challenge in my career, but I don’t know where I’m going. There have been a lot of rumours but I haven’t signed for anyone else.
“Maybe some of the Swansea fans are not happy with me because my contract is up and I am leaving. I understand that.
“But I just want to say a big thank you to everyone. I will never forget Swansea.”
Ki will now watch on from afar as the Swans attempt to get back into the Premier League at the first attempt.
And he believes the club will be best served playing the possession game which has brought them so many successes over the last decade.
“I hope the club can come back up as soon as possible,” Ki said.
“One thing I would like to say is that I hope they can find the philosophy which suits the club.
“When I first came here, the way we played was amazing. I really enjoyed playing that style because we were different to all the other teams.
“I hope to see Swansea find that identity again and hopefully that will get them back into the Premier League.”