Lorik Cana has pleaded with Sunderland fans to understand his decision to leave the club for Champions League football.
The 26-year-old completed a move to Turkish side Galatasaray, worth in excess of six million euros, just a year after arriving on Wearside in a £5million switch from Marseille.
He admitted the decision to leave had been a difficult one but said it was an opportunity he could not afford to pass up.
The Albania international said: "I have been offered the opportunity to play in European competition and the Champions League and especially to be closer to my family. This was not an easy decision for me though and I hope people understand.
"I thank everyone at Sunderland - the coaching staff, medical team, office staff, my team-mates and of course the fans.
"I wish the club to achieve everything it deserves and to continue moving higher and higher."