Gaetano Berardi reveals reason for Leeds United departure and opens up on next move

Gaetano Berardi says it was his choice to leave Leeds United in search of first team-football and has provided an update as to his future plans.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 2:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 2:34 pm

Berardi ended seven years at Elland Road with his departure from the club this summer alongside Spanish playmaker Pablo Hernandez

Both players helped Leeds to promotion in the 2019-20 Championship campaign but Berardi tore his anterior cruciate ligament in United's penultimate game of the season against Derby County last July.

The defender's Whites contract expired in the summer of 2020 but Berardi stayed with the club for his rehab from injury and then signed a new one-year deal last October.

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PROTAGONIST AIM: For outgoing Leeds United defender Gaetano Berardi, pictured saying an emotional farewell at Elland Road during victory against West Brom in May. Photo by Lynne Cameron - Pool/Getty Images.

After ten months out, the 32-year-old finally returned to make a Premier League debut as a second-half substitute in the 2-0 victory at Southampton in United's penultimate game of the 2020-21 campaign.

Leeds then announced that Berardi and Hernandez would be departing the club in the summer and Berardi was handed a first Premier League start as Leeds concluded their first season back in the Premier League through a 3-1 victory at home to West Brom.

Berardi and Hernandez are yet to seal moves to new clubs but former Swiss international Berardi hopes to sign for a club in either Switzerland or Italy in search of regular football.

Leeds signed Berardi from Sampdoria back in 2014.

"It is the right moment, obviously having evaluated above all the last year," said Berardi about leaving Leeds, in an interview with TuttoMercatoWeb.

"I came from a significant pause, I chased, but with the team in the Premier League there was a lot of competition.

"So I chose to look for something else to play more.

"But it was great precisely because they offered me to stay, it's my choice. "

Asked about the reason for leaving, Berardi said: "I have already said, to play. Staying there I would have had some opportunities, but I want to feel like a protagonist. I want a new challenge, then also return to Italy and Switzerland after many years, for the family.

"This too has an influence."

"I don't close any doors, I would like to stay as close as possible.

"I would put both the work and family aspects on the same level. In Leeds I had the goal of returning to the Premier League, there was this desire to win the championship.

"Then, however, there is always the desire to play."

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Thank you Laura Collins