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'It's my choice': Gaetano Berardi comments on Leeds exit

Gaetano Berardi has told Italian outlet Tuttomercatoweb that it was his choice to leave Leeds United this summer, confirming that he was offered the chance to stay.

Berardi recently left the Whites after seven years at Elland Road. He joined the likes of Pablo Hernandez, Barry Douglas and Gjanni Alioski in moving on less than a year after helping Leeds secure promotion back to the top flight.

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It has been a turbulent year for Berardi. He initially extended his contract by a month to help Leeds get across the line in the Championship.

Unfortunately, he sustained an injury in the penultimate game – once promotion had already been secured – that ultimately ruled him out for most of last season.

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However, Berardi fought back. And he made his Premier League debut in their last away game of the campaign, at Southampton.

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The announcement that Berardi and Hernandez would be leaving came ahead of the final day.

That set the stage for the pair to receive hero receptions as they were taken off during the win over West Brom.

In truth, their departures seemed to make sense. Hernandez had enjoyed nothing like the amount of game-time he would have hoped for.

‘It is the right moment’

Berardi meanwhile, had at least four centre-backs in front of him in the pecking order.

But interestingly, Berardi has now suggested that he was offered the chance to extend his stay into an eighth year.

“Yes, it is the right moment, obviously having evaluated above all the last year,” he told Tuttomercatoweb, when asked whether it was his decision.

“I came from an important stop, 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.”

Leeds hero Berardi surely made right decision

From an emotional standpoint, it would have been amazing had Berardi and Hernandez stuck around. Neither struggled when they played in the Premier League.

The pair deserve to be there when Leeds finally reach their ceiling under Marcelo Bielsa – wherever that is.

But honestly, Berardi has surely made the right decision. He has left a hero. And he has left having proved that he is good enough for the highest level.

And while Berardi’s playing days at Leeds are over, perhaps the door will be open for the defender to return to Elland Road in some capacity at some stage in the future.

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