Germany defender Benedikt Hoewedes has lost the Schalke 04 captaincy, with the new Bundesliga season set to kick off on Friday.
He had been Schalke’s club captain since July 2011, but is regaining fitness following a groin operation in May.
“He was disappointed, but he accepted the decision and he knows that, with the World Cup a year away, he can concentrate now solely on his football,” explained Schalke director of sport Christian Heidel.
Hoewedes was Germany’s left-back in Brazil three years ago and played every minute of their seven games at the 2014 World Cup.
“Even if I don’t agree with the decision, I have to accept it,” said Hoewedes, who has made 44 international appearances, on his Facebook page.
“As long as I am a player at FC Schalke, I will do everything I can for the club, the staff, the team and the fans.”
Following his demotion, goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann will captain Schalke with midfielder Leon Goretzka as his deputy.
“From what I have seen of him, ‘Bene’ is 100 percent professional and doesn’t need the armband to take responsibility,” said new Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco.
The 29-year-old Hoewedes is expected to feature against RB Leipzig at home on Saturday in Schalke’s first home league game after Bayern Munich open the new season against Bayer Leverkusen on Friday.
Hoewedes sat out Monday’s 2-0 win at Dynamo Berlin in the first round of the German Cup, when Faehrmann wore the armband.
“He had a groin operation, which meant a late return to pre-season training, didn’t play in our warm-up games and so it’s a logical consequence that we only took fit players,” said Tedesco.
“He’ll be back in the squad for next Saturday.”