Diego Benaglio joins Monaco after nearly a decade at Wolfsburg
Benaglio, right, with Vadim Vasilyev. | Photo: AS Monaco.

Goalkeeper Diego Benaglio has left VfL Wolfsburg after nine-and-a-half years with the Wolves to join Ligue 1 champions AS Monaco.

Benaglio was the last remaining member of the club’s 2009 Bundesliga winning squad, however his departure looked inevitable after falling out of favour in the past season.

He has signed a three-year contract with Monaco, although he will face stiff competition from Danijel Subasic in the principality. He has though already agreed in principle to return to Wolfsburg once his playing career is over.

All-time Bundesliga appearance holder for Wolfsburg

Benaglio joined Wolfsburg in January 2008 from Portuguese side CD Nacional, after a previous unsuccessful spell in Germany with VfB Stuttgart.

He immediately replaced Simon Jentzsch as number one at the Volkswagen Arena, and the following season he missed just three games as Wolfsburg won their first, and so far only, Bundesliga title.

He would go on to become the club captain and remained as their undisputed number one until the season just gone, where despite a run in the team halfway through the season he ultimately found himself playing second fiddle to Koen Casteels.

He also won the DFB-Pokal and DFL-Supercup in 2015, and made a club record 259 Bundesliga appearances for the club, whilst playing in both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.

Agreement in place for eventual return

Even now though, it may not be the end of his association with the club. In announcing his departure, the club confirmed they had agreed for him to return after his playing career is over to take up an off-the-field position, with Benaglio saying he is “already looking forward” to returning.

He did say though that it is “very difficult” to decide to leave the club. In an open letter to the club’s supporters, he said that he felt he now needed “to take on a new challenge,” but expressed his gratitude “for the wonderful time I have had here.”

Sporting director Olaf Rebbe believes that the former Swiss international “played a significant role in the development of the club” in his time there, and that he “earned himself the right to decide” where his future would lie.

Meanwhile Vadim Vasilyev, vice president and CEO at Monaco, said that they were “delighted” he was joining them. Benaglio said it was “an honour” to join the French champions and that he will “bring my experience and everything I can to the team.”

Quotes via VfL Wolfsburg and AS Monaco.