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Mathieu Valbuena says Champions League football key to Lyon transfer

With the absence of Franck Ribery, Mathieu Valbuena will be France's playmaker.
Mathieu Valbuena is a France international.

Mathieu Valbuena says the opportunity to feature in the Champions League this season was a major factor in convincing him to sign for Lyon.

Valbuena, 30, put pen to paper on a three-year deal at OL on Tuesday, bringing the France international back to his native country after a year with Dinamo Moscow.

A UEFA ban for an infringement of financial fair play regulations meant the Russian club lost its place in this season's Europa League. When Lyon offered him the opportunity to return to European club football's biggest competition, Valbuena seized it with both hands.

"When I was little, I would put the Champions League music on at full blast," Valbuena, who featured in the competition for former club Marseille, told media at his official presentation.

"I have had the honour of participating in it, and the opportunity to play in it again was a significant argument. There were quite a few things to be sorted out, but in sporting terms, it was very important."

He added: "The concrete offer that was clear, was Lyon's. I'm not unhappy to have come back to France, on the contrary. Lyon's project is a good one, and there is a great team with young talents who have proven themselves.

"That was a determining factor, just as the Champions League was -- everyone dreams of that. I experienced it with OM, and to experience it with Lyon was something important they could offer me. I'm fortunate Lyon were interested in signing me, and I didn't hesitate."

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