Fulham have released club captain Brede Hangeland from his contract twelve months early after their relegation from the Premier League.

Hangeland, 32, signed a new two-year deal on March 2013 which was to extend his stay at Craven Cottage to 2015. But the popular defender, who was Roy Hodgson’s first signing in January 2008, and the Cottagers have parted company in the aftermath of the Whites relegation as Felix Magath plots a complete overhaul of the club’s playing staff.

The former FC Copenhagen defender made an instant impact by the banks of the Thames forming a vital partnership with Aaron Hughes at the heart of the Fulham defence as Hodgson’s men pulled out a sensational great escape, winning four of their last five fixtures to survive on the final day after Danny Murphy’s header at Portsmouth.

Hangeland, a crucial part of Fulham’s remarkable run to the Europa League final just four years ago, succeeded Murphy as captain and made 272 appearances, scoring twelve goals. He is understood not to have seen eye to eye with Magath, a notorious disciplinarian, in a difficult end to a campaign that saw Fulham employ three managers and end their thirteen year stay in the Premier League.

An official Fulham statement read: “The club would like to thank Brede for his six and a half years of committed service and wishes him the very best in all of his future endeavours.”

Hangeland is not the only experienced member of Fulham’s first-team squad heading for pastures new this summer with John Arne Riise, Mahamadou Diarra, Steve Sidwell, Giorgos Karagounis and Damien Duff all leaving SW6 at the end of their contracts.