Gaetano Berardi has asked The Square Ball to share this open letter with Leeds fans, alongside the official announcement that, after almost seven years, he’s leaving Leeds United.

The time has come.

I have spent the last few weeks thinking about everything I have lived while being part of the Leeds Family. I knew Leeds United when I signed for the Club but I didn’t know how big it was. When I say Leeds United, I mean the Club, the History and the massive support everyone gets.

I came here like an empty bag, without big expectations, just with a big dream. That dream grew year by year and it became an obsession; a crazy and dangerous obsession, but you are never alone in football. You share feelings and desires with the people around you and with your teammates and thanks to this I could overcome many difficulties. I could find the motivation to go ahead and the strength to keep on fighting.

Eventually that dream came true and it was amazing being a champion with all of you. This is the end of a beautiful journey where I met really good and nice people, where I made new friends and where I experienced the birth of my son, making me and my wife the happiest people in the world. How can I forget all this? That bag is not empty anymore, it is full and heavy.

Firstly, I would like to thank Leeds United for giving me the opportunity to be part of the family and for never letting me down. I also want to thank all the people working for the club at Elland Road, everyone at Thorp Arch and especially the medical and physio staff; I will never forget when you told me, “Bera, you can come back here for treatment after the surgery, even without a contract, we’ll get you back fit again. You are one of us”. Thank you so much!

In addition, I would like to thank Marcelo and his staff, for making us great, it has been a privilege being part of your team. I am sure we will all value the experience we had with you even more in the future.

Thanks to the boys, my teammates; a group of good lads ready to work and fight every time. It is incredible what you have built in the last years, a solid group with a strong culture. You are all special.

Last but not least, thanks to all the Leeds Supporters, all the Fans. Thanks for all the support you always give to the team, for all the support I felt from you and for the nice memories I have of you. You all have one thing in common: the respect you have always showed me and I hope I deserved it.

On my side, I can say that I will always feel the strong respect that I had for you in these years. I am leaving with a bit of sadness but with my heart full of good memories and positive feelings. This is the best gift I could get from this amazing experience.

Thank You!

Gaetano


(Click here to read our 2017 interview with Gaetano)

(And click here to buy our shameless cash-in ‘Berardi Years’ merch, featuring Arley Byrne’s brilliant artwork)

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