David de Gea has announced he is leaving Manchester United as a free agent after 12 seasons at Old Trafford.
The 32-year-old’s contract with United expired at the end of June, with no new deal agreed despite talks that took place throughout the season.
In a message on social media, De Gea thanked United fans for their support, but said: “Now, it’s the right time to undertake a new challenge, to push myself again in new surroundings.”
When De Gea’s contract expired last Friday, United said they remained in talks with the Spain goalkeeper.
That followed reports that De Gea had signed a contract extension only for the club to withdraw that offer and come back with reduced terms.
United have been linked with a move for Inter Milan keeper Andre Onana.
De Gea wrote: “I would like to express my unwavering gratitude and appreciation for the love from the last 12 years. We’ve achieved a lot since my dear Sir Alex Ferguson brought me to this club.
“I took incredible pride every time I pulled on this shirt, to lead the team, to represent this institution, the biggest club in the world was an honour only bestows upon a few lucky footballers.
“It’s been an unforgettable and successful period since I came here. I didn’t think from leaving Madrid as a young boy we would achieve what we did together.
“Now, it’s the right time to undertake a new challenge, to push myself again in new surroundings.
“Manchester will always be in my heart, Manchester has shaped me and will never leave me. We’ve seen it all.”
United quickly followed De Gea’s announcement with tributes from Erik ten Hag and John Murtough.
“It takes great quality and character to reach the level of even playing one game for Manchester United,” said Ten Hag. “To do it 545 times over 12 years is a special achievement, particularly in the goalkeeping position where every game puts you in the spotlight.
“To have won Player of the Year awards from both the fans and his team-mates, each on four occasions, shows the level of his performance and he will always be remembered as one of the very best goalkeepers in the history of the club.
“I am personally grateful for the 25 clean sheets he helped provide last season and his overall contribution on the pitch during my first year at the club. All the players and staff send him our very best wishes for the next phase of his outstanding career.”
United’s football director Murtough added: “David leaves Manchester United with the deepest respect and warmest appreciation of everyone associated with the club.
“To have set new club records for goalkeeper appearances and clean sheets, surpassing Alex Stepney and Peter Schmeichel respectively, shows just how great a player he has been for us.
“Just as important are his qualities as a person, and he will be missed by all of us who have had the privilege of working with him over the past 12 years.
“David will always be part of the Manchester United family and we look forward to welcoming him back to Old Trafford in future as a legend of the club.”
De Gea’s exit paves the way for United to bring in Onana as their new No.1.
The Red Devils have had two bids rejected by Inter Milan but reports on Saturday afternoon suggest a compromise has been reached between the two clubs, with Onana set to sign this week.