Leeds give Klich emotional send-off as star prepares to join Rooney

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Mateusz Klich applauded the crowd after his final Leeds appearance (Image: PA)
Mateusz Klich applauded the crowd after his final Leeds appearance (Image: PA)

Leeds United's players, staff and fans gave a huge send-off to departing hero Mateusz Klich as the midfielder bid the club farewell.

Poland star Klich has been with the club for more than five years, first joining in the summer of 2017. He was part of the squad which won promotion to the Premier League under Marcelo Bielsa in 2020, and has featured in some of the Whites' more memorable top-flight games.

Wednesday's draw with West Ham was his final game in Leeds colours, though, and he was handed an emotional farewell by those inside Elland Road. Next up for the 32-year-old is a move to Major League Soccer, with Wayne Rooney 's D.C. United expected to announce his signing ahead of their 2023 season.

"Everyone at Leeds United would like to thank Mateusz for his efforts during his time at the club, his contribution is truly unforgettable," a statement from the club read. "He has acted with the upmost professionalism throughout his time at Elland Road and will always be respected by everyone at the club.

"Mateusz leaves Leeds United as a champion and will always be welcome at Elland Road. We wish him all the best as he starts a new chapter in the USA."

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All 14 of Klich's Premier League outings this season have come from the bench, with Jesse Marsch bringing in fellow midfielders Tyler Adams and Marc Roca over the summer. The Pole was handed 27 minutes against West Ham, and was visibly emotional as he left the field.

What are your fondest memories of Klich at Leeds? Have your say in the comments section

Leeds give Klich emotional send-off as star prepares to join RooneyLeeds star Mateusz Klich was given a guard of honour (Getty Images)

Leeds' players and staff gave Klich a guard of honour, wearing shirts bearing his name and number. He played 195 games in total for the club, scoring 24 goals, and missed just one league game in 2019-20 as the club ended their long wait for a Premier League return.

"This was not a black and white decision," Marsch told a press conference. "This was a lot of different discussions and Klichy being presented with an opportunity which he thought was more long-standing, providing stability for his family and an opportunity to provide something new.

“He and I had discussions which were often unsure about what the final decision should be. Even at this moment, I knew that in a moment when we needed more courage on the pitch that Klichy was the right guy to be.

"This is how he is, this is how he lives life and plays football. We’re not absolutely sure it’s the right decision [for the club] but we wish him all the best.”

Leeds give Klich emotional send-off as star prepares to join RooneyKlich's 195th Leeds game was also his last (Getty Images)

"When I arrived here from Holland in 2017 I had high hopes for my time in England," Klich wrote in a letter to his 'Leeds United family'. "Whilst my first year was more like a nightmare, the following four and a half years have been a dream.

He gave special thanks to sporting director Victor Orta and to former boss Bielsa for "giving me the opportunity to succeed". He also wished Leeds well under current manager Marsch, while explaining a need for regular football prompted his decision to move on.

"I wish I could stay, but I've never enjoyed being on the bench and I want to play as much as I can in the coming years and that is why I am closing this chapter, but I will never forget my time in Yorkshire," he added.

Tom Victor

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