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Schalke suspend departing Max Meyer after criticism of sporting director

Schalke's Max Meyer
Max Meyer will leave Schalke, his only club, on a free transfer this summer.

Schalke suspended Max Meyer on Monday after the departing midfielder lashed out at sporting director Christian Heidel, telling Bild that he is leaving because he "no longer wanted to work under" him.

Meyer will no longer participate in training with Schalke in the two weeks remaining until his contract expires at the end of the season, effectively ending his ties to the club.

Having turned down two contract offers, with the last one guaranteeing an annual salary of €5.5 million, Meyer will leave Schalke on a free transfer this summer, the club said last week.

Meyer, 22, saw his playing time at the club limited since turning down the offer in mid-February. He has played in four of 10 games since then, starting one, and was indirectly accused by Clemens Tonnies, the club's head of the supervisory board, of preferring money over emotions during an interview with Sky.

But Meyer told Bild: "It was never about the money. Otherwise, I would have accepted the second, improved offer. And that's why I think it's a disgrace when Clemens Tonnies tries to make it look like it's only about the money for me.

"I just wanted to leave Schalke and no longer work under Christian Heidel. That's the truth. Recently, it felt like mobbing here."

Heidel arrived at Schalke from Mainz in 2016, and Meyer said he was told he could be asked to leave the club.

"He told me that I would no longer play a lot of games. I was no longer welcomed," Meyer said. "They tried to sell me, and when I was not up for it, they wanted me to renew my deal. I didn't do that."

Meyer said Domenico Tedesco, appointed as Schalke's new coach in June, "told me that I should not hope to get much game time."

But Tedesco began to play Meyer in a deeper role in holding midfield towards the middle of the first half of the season before leaving him on the bench once the contract offer was rejected.

In the club's statement suspending Meyer, Tedesco said he was "disappointed with his personal attacks and can not understand them."

The club statement also said no one at the club told Meyer he should look for a new team, and claimed the player refused to meet with Heidel on Monday.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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