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Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa thanks Granada fans

Guillermo Ochoa has thanked Granada supporters following the end of his loan spell at the club, which was relegated in April.

The Mexico international goalkeeper played every minute of every La Liga game for Granada after joining the Andalusian outfit from Malaga last summer.

The former Ajaccio star said he is hugely grateful for the backing the Granada fans gave him over the past 12 months.

He said via Granada's Twitter account: "I want to thank the fans for their unconditional support throughout this year. They made my stay a pleasant one.

"From the first day to the last, they have shown their love and that's something that is beautiful, that I take with me and I will remember for the rest of my life."

After playing in Friday's 2-1 home defeat to Espanyol, Granada's last game, the 31-year-old had logged 3,420 minutes in Spain's top flight this season.

Though Ochoa gave away a league-high 82 goals this season and kept just three cleans sheets, he also made a league-best 163 saves. Ochoa was voted the best player of the 2016-17 campaign by the club's fans and has donated the prize money to the club's foundation.

His efforts were not rewarded on the pitch, however, as Granada were assured of dropping into the second division last month. They finished at the foot of the standings with 20 points from 38 games. Ochoa said: "From a personal standpoint, it has been painful.

"We always tried to find a way to revert the situation. This club is in debt to its fans. They deserve much more.

"During the difficult times, they didn't let us down. They are great supporters and they deserve for their team to play in La Liga."

Ochoa, who will be a free agent this summer, has not revealed his future club.

He told ESPN's Jorge Ramos y Su Banda: "I am going to evaluate my options. Returning to Mexico [to play Liga MX] is not one of them, I can tell you that. The intention, the idea and my preference is to stay in Europe."

He will join Mexico's national team in training in preparation for next month's World Cup qualifiers at home to Honduras and the United States. Ochoa and Real Sociedad goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli were the only two La Liga players to have completed all 38 games this season.

Rulli made 111 saves, kept 10 clean sheets and gave away 53 goals in the process.

The 25-year-old made three saves to help the Basque outfit take a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo on Sunday to finish sixth in the standings, one point clear of Athletic Bilbao, and qualify for the Europa League group stages.

Rulli's performances did not go unnoticed as he was recently included in Argentina's squad for next month's international friendlies against Brazil and Singapore.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.


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