Bayern Munich midfielder Mark van Bommel has joined AC Milan after he asked for his contract at the German club to be terminated.
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Van Bommel, who impressed with his combative style for Netherlands at the 2010 World Cup, has been linked with moves to Liverpool, Wolfsburg and AC Milan and, with his contract expiring at the end of the season, the 33-year-old has chosen to continue his career in Italy.
"Captain Mark van Bommel is joining AC Milan effective immediately," Bayern said in a statement. "The Dutch international asked for his contract to become void to transfer for sporting reasons."
The player himself claimed he would not reveal the reasons for his decision, but admitted there was no problem with the club.
"I am a proud captain and the club has not laid anything in my way," he told Sport1 television. "I am very happy with the way [Bayern chairman] Mr [Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge has treated me, that deserves respect. I will not talk about my reasons [for wanting to leave].
''I am leaving FC Bayern with a heavy heart, but with my head held high. I had four-and-a-half wonderful and successful years here and would like to express my gratitude to the club and the fans. FC Bayern will always have a place in my heart.''
Bayern had not made their captain an offer for a contract extension beyond the end of the season, and Rummenigge admitted it was only fair to let him consider other options.
''It was Mark's expressed request to be released from his contract immediately to be able to transfer to AC Milan for sporting reasons,'' said Rummenigge in a statement.
''Mark was always a role model, an important and successful player for FC Bayern and, more than that, he was an exceptional captain. Given his service to the club, we accepted Mark's request.''
Milan have struggled for midfield players as Massimo Ambrosini, Matthieu Flamini and youngster Alexander Merkel are the only fit stars currently available. The Rossoneri are also set to freshen up their squad with the likes of Gennaro Gattuso, Clarence Seedorf and Andrea Pirlo out of contract in the summer.