Midfielder Guti leaving Madrid after 15 seasons
Midfielder Jose Maria ''Guti'' Gutierrez is leaving Real Madrid after 15 seasons with the Spanish giant.
Guti, who had another year to run on his contract, said Sunday he was considering an offer from Turkish club Besiktas.
''I have a good offer from them, an interesting one, now we'll see,'' Guti said. ''It wasn't an easy decision'' to leave Madrid.
Only striker Raul Gonzalez has been at Madrid longer than Guti, who made his debut for the first team in 1995. The 33-year-old Guti helped Madrid win three Champions League and five Spanish league title as well as two Intercontinental Cups.
Guti was signed to Madrid at the age of eight and came up through Madrid's academy before making his debut in a 4-1 victory over Sevilla on Dec. 2, 1995.
He scored 86 goals in 542 games for Madrid.
''They're a lot of years and many (were) complicated but in the end I managed to achieve the most important things,'' said Guti, who wore the No. 14 shirt. ''So many years here ... an unforgettable stage (of my life).''
Guti mostly started on the bench over the last two seasons due to injuries and inconsistent form.
Like Raul, Guti never played for any other club and was considered a symbol of Madrid, identified by his blond locks and direct manner which occasionally caused friction with some of the 15 coaches he played under.
''He is a special player who managed to surprise us in every game,'' said managing director Jorge Valdano, who gave Guti his first call-up as coach. ''A true Madridista. Today is a sad day because one of our own is leaving.''
Guti would join former Madrid coach Bernd Schuster at Besiktas.
''I hope people miss me, it will mean I did my job well,'' said Guti, who also scored three goals in 13 appearances for Spain.
Raul could also be on his way out of Santiago Bernabeu. Media reports suggest the striker will join German club Schalke.