BERLIN, March 30 (Reuters) - German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday that negotiations about Britain's exit from the European Union would be tough before getting easier.
"The Brexit negotiations with the United Kingdom that the European Union will lead for us won't be easy - some people know the saying that ... things will get difficult before they get easier again - that applies to these talks," said Gabriel.
He also said he expected Brexit negotiations to start from the end of May and stressed that he wanted Germany to remain friends with Britain.
"We must stay friends ... maybe apart from when we are on the football pitch." (Reporting by Madeline Chambers and Michelle Martin)