GOALKEEPER Marco Silvestri says he will “always feel connected to Leeds United” after ending three years at Elland Road to join Italian club Hellas Verona.
Silvestri signed for Leeds in July 2014 from Chievo but ended his stint with the Whites last week when returning to Italy after finding his opportunities limited with the Whites.
I will always feel connected to Leeds United because it’s a historic team and one of the most important in England.Marco Silvestri
The 26-year-old fell behind Rob Green in the pecking order last season and only made six appearances for United last term, all of which came in either the FA or EFL Cup – where he famously saved three penalties in the penalty shootout win over Norwich City.
The Italian was first choice keeper in his first season at Elland Road when featuring 44 times but he was staring at another bit-part role next term after Leeds signed another goalkeeper, Felix Wiedwald, from Werder Bremen this summer.
Silvestri did play 90 minutes in United’s behind-closed-doors friendly against Turkish side Bursaspor in Austria last week but moved to Hellas Verona for an undisclosed fee the following day.
But Silvestri says he has departed Elland Road with fond memories of his three years with the Whites who the keeper says are one of the most important teams in the country.
“I want to say goodbye and thank all the Leeds fans for these three years together,” said Silvestri, writing in a statement on his personal Twitter page. “They have been so important for me and for my career, I will always feel connected to Leeds United because it’s a historic team and one of the most important in England.
“Thank you and all the best to all my team-mates and fans. You deserve the best, hope to see you soon in the Premier League. Thank you for everything, goodbye.”
Green and Wiedwald are now battling it out for the no 1 jersey at Leeds with Green playing the full 90 minutes as United suffered a 4-2 loss to La Liga side Eibar on Sunday in their final pre-season friendly of their tour of Austria.
Wiedwald played the full 90 minutes of the 1-1 draw with Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach three days earlier. After joining from QPR the previous summer, 37-year-old former England goalkeeper Green made 47 appearances last season as Leeds finished the Championship in seventh.
Wiedwald, 27, who has been capped by Germany’s under-20s, featured 26 times for Bremen last season as the German side finished eighth in the Bundesliga, narrowly missing out on qualification for the Europa League.
The arrival of Wiedwald left Leeds with four first-team goalkeepers but United had looked set to loan out 20-year-old Bailey Peacock-Farrell after the young custodian had signed a new three-year deal.
John Sheridan’s Oldham Athletic were set to take Peacock-Farrell on a season-long loan but Peacock-Farrell instead flew out to Austria to replace Silvestri – who made 98 appearances for Leeds – and join the rest of the squad.
Silvestri leaves Leeds after making 98 appearances in total.