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Mertens bids emotional farewell to Napoli fans

Italy Serie A

Mertens bids emotional farewell to Napoli fans

Mertens bids emotional farewell to Napoli fans

Belgium forward Dries Mertens is a free agent after leaving Serie A club Napoli, and has been linked with Inter and Juventus.

Dries Mertens has posted a farewell message to Napoli fans, saying his exit was not how he would have planned it.

The Belgium forward’s nine-year stay at the Serie A club ended following the 2021-22 season.

Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis previously said Mertens turned down the offer of a new deal because he wanted more money, telling Radio Kiss Kiss:

“I presented him with a gross € 4 million per season, and he refused.

“So I said thank you very much… I need money to buy young players who can represent Napoli in future seasons.”

In a message posted to his social media on Wednesday, Mertens said:

“Dear Neapolitans, I knew this day would eventually come.

“But I didn’t know how difficult it would be to say goodbye.”

He also praised the city of Naples for “adopting” him, pointing out that his son Ciro, who features in the video with him, was born in the city.

The former PSV man added:

“I did not leave as I would have liked” before finishing with: “this is not farewell, only goodbye.”

The Partenopei have seen Lorenzo Insigne, David Ospina, Kalidou Koulibaly and Arkadiusz Milik also depart during this transfer window, with Mertens leaving as the club’s record goalscorer with 148 goals.

He scored 11 times in 30 Serie A games last season.

And his 126 minutes per goal is the fourth-best return of any player in the Italian top flight.

Mertens was linked with Inter, Juventus and Marseille and made 397 appearances for Napoli.

Placing him behind Insigne (434), Antonio Juliano (505), Giuseppe Bruscolotti (511) and Marek Hamsik (520).

Mertens will go down in Napoli history as one of their best player in recent history.

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