Kevin Kuranyi has confirmed he is leaving Schalke to join Dynamo Moscow on a free transfer. The 28-year-old, whose contract with Bundesliga side Schalke expires at the end of June, announced the transfer on his own official website, thanking the Royal Blues fans for their support this season.
"I will most certainly remember my recent time with Schalke as one of the best of my life. The way you celebrated us and me after the final home game of the season is one of the most emotional moments of my career," he said.
Schalke had hoped to begin negotiations with Kuranyi over a new contract once they had secured their place in the UEFA Champions League and were able to know what kind of financial possibilities they had to offer the striker. However, the interest from Moscow materialised before this was possible and, although Kuranyi insists the move is not all about money, it would have been hard for the Royal Blues to compete with the wages on offer from the Russian giants.
"I always said that, at the end of the day, the overall package had to be right," he explained. I had that feeling with Dynamo. Of course the financial side is one aspect of it and it would be hypocritical to claim otherwise. I believe that my family will be happy in Moscow. I have spoken at length with Russian friends about it because not only I have got to get used to a new environment, but my family does too."
Kuranyi also believes the move will not be a step backwards in his career as he appears to be entering his prime, backed by 18 goals in the Bundesliga this season. He will forego UEFA Champions League football next season, but wants to now help Dinamo become a force in Russian and European football.
"CSKA Moscow (2005) and Zenit St Petersburg (2008) have both won the UEFA Cup and Zenit even beat Bayern Munich in the semi-final. CSKA was in the quarter-finals of the Champions League this season and Rubin Kazan won at Barcelona in Europe's top club competition.
"I think these results speak for themselves and now I want to latch onto these achievements and build something big with Dynamo. I know that it is not going to be easy since the team has not made a good start to the season, but I also know that the start is always tough."
Kuranyi will certainly recall how tough it was when he arrived in Gelsenkirchen from Stuttgart in 2005 and struggled to win the fans over. He was made the scapegoat for the club's failings under former coach Fred Rutten, but finally proved his worth to them in this, his last season at the club, and a memorable one at that.
"Whatever the future brings, the time I spent with Schalke will always remain special for me," he said. "Therefore, I thank you [the fans] with all my heart and wish Schalke all the best."
Kuranyi's decision to leave the Bundesliga may also be a reaction to his exclusion from the Germany squad for the FIFA World Cup™.
Despite scoring 18 goals this season and ranking as the second-highest German striker in the Bundesliga, he was still overlooked by Germany coach Joachim Low, who instead chose Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose, who have scored only four goals between them.
"Like any footballer, I dreamt as a little child of taking part in a World Cup," he wrote last week. This dream has been shattered for the second time. Therefore, obviously this decision has made me very sad. I gave all I could this season, but sadly that was not enough."