Claude Makelele revealed he has left a “wonderful football club” following his departure from Swansea City and believes there are brighter times ahead at the Liberty.
The Frenchman has taken up the Head Coach role at K.A.S Eupen, who are currently bottom of Belgium’s top flight.
Makelele arrived at the Liberty in January shortly after Paul Clement’s appointment as the new Swans boss.
The highlight of his ten-month spell in south Wales was playing a role in the Swans’ transformation from bottom of the Premier League to securing a 15th-place finish.
And the 44-year-old, who played for the likes of Real Madrid, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, looked back fondly on his time with the Swans.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Swansea, especially helping the club secure its Premier League status last season,” said Makelele, who had also worked alongside Clement during their time at PSG.
“I’d like to thank the owners, chairman and the manager for giving me the opportunity. The experience has given me a lot of positives to help me in my managerial career in the future – and I hope I’ve been able to give something back to the club along the way.
“It’s a wonderful football club; a real family club that’s been a pleasure to serve. I’d like to thank everyone for the welcome and help I’ve received in Swansea from the backroom staff to the fans.”
Makelele’s final involvement for the Swans came in last weekend’s home defeat to Brighton.
That loss meant the Swans dropped into the relegation zone with eight points from 11 games.
But Makelele is confident the squad has the quality to turn the club’s fortunes ahead and steer clear of trouble.
“Yes, things are difficult on the pitch at the moment, but I’d urge everyone to stay patient,” he added.
“I know Paul (Clement) will make a success of it. The work he is doing on the training ground is excellent and it will eventually transfer to the games.
“I think two wins will be enough to raise confidence and get things going again. The quality is there to get out of trouble, but it is very important the fans stick with the team. You have to understand that it’s a young team and they need help.
“It’s like a mother protecting her baby. The fans need to do the same with the players; protect them and they will respond, like they did in the second half of last season, with renewed energy and confidence. That’s where the word ‘family’ plays its part in a family club.”
Makelele had the opportunity to step into management towards the end of last season, but wanted to remain in Wales to help the Swans secure their Premier League status.
“You never know if it’s the right time to take the step into management,” he added. “But I’ve been given a good opportunity and a good project to manage for the next few years.
“I’ve learnt a lot at Swansea, but I want to keep learning. This opportunity at Eupen will hopefully enable me to do that.
“I will always keen one eye on how Swansea are doing and I wish everyone there all the success in the world.”