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Mainz opts not to re-sign Nikolche Noveski

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Nikolche Noveski; photo: bild.deNikolche Noveski; photo: bild.deNikolche Noveski's long tenure with Mainz will come to an end at the conclusion of this season after the German club announced that he will not be offered a new contract.

Nikolche Noveski, a club legend at Mainz, will not be brought back next season. Sporting director Christian Heidel made that announcement at a press conference on Thursday. Heidel called it a very tough decision, given what Noveski means to Mainz, but they have other guys ahead of Nikolche Noveski at the center-back position. Furthermore, Noveski recently turned 36 years old.

For the past several seasons, Noveski's status with Mainz has been handled on a year-to-year basis. He normally had a clause in his contract that if he reached a certain number of appearances in a season, his contract would be renewed automatically. That was a yearly occurrence since he was a regular starter, but that changed this season. Noveski has only made seven league appearances in this campaign, having been slowed down by injuries. After he got hurt, the starters at center-back became Niko Bungert and Stefan Bell. Those guys are viewed as the future for Mainz at that position, so there was no room for Noveski anymore.

Noveski recently sat down with Heider and Mainz manager Martin Schmidt to discuss his future. During those conversations, it was decided that Nikolche's contract would not be renewed given the club situation. Mainz wants to get younger as a team and feels set at that position.

Nikolche became a cult hero among the fans. He was a no nonsense defender who was very uncompromising. He relied on physicality and positioning to make up for a lack of pace. They appreciated Noveski's loyalty and commitment to the team. Nikolche stayed with the team when they were relegated earlier in his career, and his leadership abilities earned him the right to serve as the Mainz captain over the past several seasons.

On their official website, Mainz wrote a touching tribute to Noveski. Mainz will have a big celebration for Noveski this Saturday when they host Köln in Nikolche's final home game for the club.

The photo Mainz used in writing their tributeThe photo Mainz used in writing their tribute

Noveski ended up accumulating 253 appearances for Mainz in the Bundesliga, and 60 more appearances for the club in the 2. Bundesliga. That brings his tally to 313 league caps. He also added 23 games for Mainz in the German Cup, and 10 more in the Europa League competition.

As for his next step, Noveski will probably retire. It would be tough to foresee him in another uniform. He could remain with Mainz in a coaching capacity or as a scout, if he is interested in those things.

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