David Alaba has lifted the lid on his decision to walk away from Bayern Munich at the end of the season once his contract expires.
Sky Germany reported in April that Alaba is set to put pen to paper on terms for a five-year contract with Zinedine Zidane’s side.
David Alaba will leave Bayern Munich after 13 years at the end of the current season
The 28-year-old Austria defender is expected to sign a five-year deal with Real Madrid
But his departure brings the curtain down on 13 years in the Bundesliga with Bayern, where he has won nine league titles to date as well as two Champions Leagues.
Speaking to Bayern’s official website, Alaba said: ‘It’s always difficult when something comes to an end and it’s no secret that I’ve always really felt at home here.
‘Obviously, I’m leaving Bayern with a tear in my eye but also looking forward to my future at the same time.
‘It wasn’t a decision against the club, but I decided I’d like to do something new and take another step forward.
‘To grow, you have to leave your ‘comfort zone’ – and I deliberately put that word in quotation marks because it could possibly be misunderstood.
‘At Bayern, the expectations on the pitch are always extreme from the management, in the dressing room or from yourself.
‘I think that perhaps you have to go into the unknown to be able to mature again.’
Alaba with Hansi Flick after winning the German Cup last year – Flick is also leaving Bayern
Alaba looks increasingly likely to round off his final season in Munich with a 10th league title.
Hansi Flick’s side are seven points clear of RB Leipzig at the summit of the German league standings.
Leipzig are managed by Julian Nagelsmann, who it has already been announced will succeed Flick as Bayern boss for the 2021-22 campaign.