Di Matteo resigns as Schalke coach after seven months at helm
Roberto Di Matteo had resigned as coach of Schalke after only seven months at the helm, citing a difference of opinion over shaping the Bundesliga club's future as his reason for walking away.
The Italian tendered his resignation after a meeting with the club's director of sport Horst Heldt over the weekend, after the Royal Blues ended the season in a disappointing sixth position.
"Horst Heldt and I have not only analysed the past seven months, but above all we turned our attentions to how we wanted to shape the coming season," Di Matteo said on Schalke's official website.
"I illustrated my plan for a possibly successful future and explained what conditions were, in my opinion, necessary for this.
"Although the discussions with Horst Heldt were always constructive, it became clear that the club would like to focus on other aspects.
"Also because the burden being carried from an unsatisfactory second half of the season means that I could not guarantee that we could deliver the successes that the club demands, and it seemed to me that a new beginning was the best for all involved.
"That is particularly the case for Schalke, whose fans I have grown fond of. This is why I have taken this decision to relinquish my duties as head coach."
It was being reported on Sunday that Di Matteo was going to be sacked by Schalke. He has instead left of his own accord with Heldt insisting that speculation to the contrary was untrue.
"When we realised during our talks that we had different views about the future, he always had the club's best interests at heart," Heldt said.
"Announcements that we had sacked the coach on Sunday were factually incorrect."
Heldt also praised former Chelsea boss Di Matteo for his work.
"Roberto Di Matteo took charge of the club in October 2014 when we were 11th in the table in a situation which was far more difficult than it seemed on the outside," he said.
"We had many injured players, and then there were more complicating factors. Thanks to Roberto's work, we were able to stabilise ourselves and rise to third at the start of the second half of the season.
"We also reached the last 16 of the Champions League, in which we beat Real Madrid 4-3 away and had them on the brink of elimination.
"Unfortunately we were all unable to halt the subsequent slide."
That win at the Bernabeu will be remembered as the highlight of Di Matteo's short reign on the Royal Blues bench, although the club's fans are more likely to keep the final few weeks of the season as their most evocative memory of the season.
Schalke slipped out of the running for a place in the Champions League next season and risked missing out on Europe entirely.
They dropped to sixth on the final day of the season with a 2-0 defeat at Hamburg, meaning they may now face the prospect of having to qualify for the Europa League.
Schalke will only earn a berth in the group stage if Borussia Dortmund are beaten in Saturday's DFB-Pokal final against Wolfsburg.