Steven Defour: Burnley midfielder's contract cancelled 'for personal reasons'

Steven Defour scores for Burnley against Manchester United at Old Trafford
A stunning free-kick against Manchester United at Old Trafford was one highlight of Defour's Burnley career

Belgium midfielder Steven Defour says leaving Burnley is the "best solution for everyone" after the club cancelled his contract to allow him to return home for personal reasons.

The 31-year-old has barely played for 18 months with a succession of injuries and was in the final year of his contract.

The former Porto and Anderlecht man joined Burnley for £7.5m in 2016.

"It's been a really hard last year and a half," Defour said.

He played a key role in helping the Clarets to qualify for the Europa League in 2017-18 but a knee injury saw him miss several months of football before a calf injury had stopped him making a single appearance in 2019.

"Steven has worked really hard throughout the summer to get back to full fitness and has made excellent progress," manager Sean Dyche said.

"We were looking forward to him playing some part for us later in the season, but for family reasons it is more appropriate for him to return to Belgium.

"We always put the welfare of a player first and hopefully by returning home he can resolve these issues and get the chance to resume his career nearer to his family home."

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. But I think this is the best solution for everyone. On a personal note it's good for me to go back to Belgium."

A Burnley statement said the Belgium international - capped 52 times by his country - "will be remembered at Turf Moor as arguably their most successful overseas signing" and "one of the most technically gifted players of recent times".

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