Yohan Benalouane has sent a message to Atalanta fans after agreeing a move to Leicester City, saying he has done it for the good of the Serie A club.
Benalouane, 28, revealed that Leicester have paid €8 million to sign him on a four-year contract and said he had no choice but to accept, although he insists he would have preferred to have stayed in Bergamo.
"I couldn't say anything before it was all sealed, but now there is something I wanted to say," the Tunisian defender told the Bergamopost. "I will be back in Bergamo often and I'll be keeping my home in this city which I love so much and where I will really be leaving my heart.
"I was so emotional when I left the preseason training camp because I really love everybody here. I love you all and send a strong hug to all my teammates and all the fans.
"I would have stayed in Bergamo, but an €8m offer is a huge thing for Atalanta. I love the Nerazzurri family so much and that is why I accepted, and I hope with all of my heart that my departure will enable the management to make Atalanta even stronger.
"I hope some big new signings will now arrive and that you will have a great season. I did this for the good of Atalanta because I knew it was a huge opportunity for everybody and I followed my heart. One day I will come back to Bergamo, I'm certain of it."
Benalouane joined Atalanta from Parma in January 2014, initially on loan and then permanently for €1m last summer. He played 27 times in Serie A last term, helping the Bergamo club avoid relegation to Serie B.
They have made a profit of €7m in just a year on a player who had never moved for more than €1m throughout his career, which included spells with Saint-Etienne and Cesena.