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 By Ben Gladwell

Lazio confirm Stefan de Vrij rejects new contract, will leave after season

Stefan De Vrij's late challenge on Mauro Icardi vs Inter proved pivotal in Lazio's failure to reach the Champions League.
Stefan de Vrij joined Lazio from Feyenoord in 2014.

Lazio have confirmed that Stefan de Vrij has turned down their offer of a new contract and will be leaving the club in the summer.

The Dutch defender has been strongly linked with a move to Inter Milan, while Manchester United and Chelsea have also been rumoured to be interested in the 26-year-old, who will be available on a free transfer in July.

Lazio's sporting director, Igli Tare, has now paved the way for a move to happen by saying his club are withdrawing their offer of a new contract since the player has made it clear he will not be signing it.

"We'll explain our reasons later," Tare said to Mediaset. "There's a limit and that's been breached, and it's now become a question of correctness. He's always been an exceptional professional and he's given a lot to Lazio, and Lazio have given a lot to him, but at the end of the season, our paths will divide. We are withdrawing our offer to him.

"There's nothing evil -- we thank Stefan for what he has given to us, but for now, we are not going to explain the reasons behind this separation. We need to look ahead. We've grown a lot and we will continue to grow. The only certainty is that there will never be a lack of footballers and we've got to be good at finding them."

Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi said he will be sorry to see De Vrij leave, but he has no doubts the defender will continue to give everything for the club in the meantime.

"I'm sorry because he's a great player," Inzaghi told Mediaset. "He's made a different choice and we've taken note, but the important thing is he continues to give 100 percent until the end of the season. I know that the club made him a significant offer and he was tempted, but he's a champion and I know that he will behave as such until the end of the season."

De Vrij, who is rated at €35 million, joined Lazio from Feyenoord in 2014. He has been a regular for the club apart from the 2015-16 season, most of which he missed because of a knee injury.

Later on Tuesday, he posted a message on his instagram account explaining his decision

É stato un periodo difficilissimo pieno di speculazioni sul mio futuro fino ad arrivare a questo punto che nessuno desiderava. Purtroppo per diversi motivi non siamo riusciti a trovare un accordo soddisfacente per entrambe le parti. Capisco molto bene la delusione dei Laziali e mi fa male andare via in questo modo. Anche se qui sono felicissimo e mi sento a casa, a volte bisogna uscire dalla propria comfort zone per poter raggiungere gli obiettivi desiderati. Sarò per sempre grato alla Lazio e ai tifosi per essere sempre stati dalla mia parte e per tutta la fiducia e le opportunità che mi sono state date. Ho provato a dimostrarlo ogni giorno dando il massimo e continueró a farlo fino alla fine! Grazie, Stefan. It has been a very difficult period full of speculations on my future to come to this point that nobody desired. Unfortunately we were not able to find a satisfying agreement for both parties due to various reasons. I understand the disappointment of the Lazio fans very good and it hurts me leaving in this way. Even though I am very happy and I feel at home here, sometimes we need to get out of our comfort zone to achieve our desired goals. I will be forever grateful to Lazio and to the fans for always being there for me, for the trust and opportunities given. I have always tried to demonstrate that by giving the best of me and I will keep doing that until the end. Thank you, Stefan.

A post shared by Stefan de Vrij (@stefandevrij) on

"It has been a very difficult period full of speculations on my future to come to this point that nobody desired," he wrote. "Unfortunately we were not able to find a satisfying agreement for both parties due to various reasons.

"I understand the disappointment of the Lazio fans very good and it hurts me leaving in this way. Even though I am very happy and I feel at home here, sometimes we need to get out of our comfort zone to achieve our desired goals.

"I will be forever grateful to Lazio and to the fans for always being there for me, for the trust and opportunities given. I have always tried to demonstrate that by giving the best of me and I will keep doing that until the end. Thank you, Stefan."

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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