Steven Defour said it had been an “honour” to play for Burnley following confirmation that he is leaving Turf Moor.
Defour is being allowed to return to Belgium to continue his career after reaching a mutual agreement to terminate the remaining 10 months of his contract.
And while injuries limited the midfield play-maker to 58 appearances in his three years as a Claret, he leaves as a firm Burnley favourite.
“I just want to say I’m honoured to have played for Burnley Football Club,” said Defour, who was the Clarets’ then-record signing when he joined the club from Anderlecht in August, 2016.
“I want to thank the gaffer and his staff and the medical staff for taking care of me.
“I wish I could have shown more on the pitch, but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. I wanted to show more, because the support was really fantastic.
“You don’t really want it to end because you want to give something back for all the support I have been given. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out the way I wanted them to.
“But I’m very honoured I’ve played for Burnley and that I’ve grown with this club and we made progress together.
“I hope they will remember me as a player when he was on the pitch he gave his all and tried to give some joy to the fans.
“I enjoyed every second of playing for Burnley and I will always be a fan of Burnley Football Club.”
Defour helped the Clarets gain a foothold in the Premier League in his first season at the club.
And the former Belgium international, capped 52 times by his country, then enjoyed his best spell as a Burnley player during the 2017/18 season as Sean Dyche’s side finished seventh in the table to qualify for Europe.
Defour started 24 top-flight games during that campaign as one of the catalysts for the Clarets’ success before a knee injury towards the end of January, 2018 curtailed his season.
The 31-year-old suffered a complication on his return due to a calf problem that restricted him to six Premier League appearances and three cup games last season.
A calf injury has again disrupted his preparation for the current campaign, but after working hard with the Clarets’ sports science staff to get back to full fitness, the 31-year-old hopes to extend his playing career back in his native country.
“It’s been a really hard last year and a half,” Defour added.
“Unfortunately, I had some severe injuries I was trying to come back from and it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to.
“There are lots of frustrations as well because I really wanted to give something back to the fans for their support.
“But I think this is the best solution for everyone. On a personal note it’s good for me to go back to Belgium.”