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50-50 Challenge: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

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Barcelona 1 day ago
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By ESPN Staff
Jul 24, 2006

Blues misfit Del Horno completes return to La Liga

MADRID, July 24 (Reuters) - Spain defender Asier del Horno said he had no regrets about his year spent at Chelsea after completing his move to Valencia on Monday.

'It was a good experience in London. I developed a lot as a player and a person,' Del Horno told a news conference.

'Looking back I view it positively and for me it was important to have won a league title in my first season in England.'

The 25-year-old left back has signed a six-year contract with Valencia in a move Spanish media said was worth around 7.5 million euros ($9.48 million).

Del Horno moved to Chelsea on a three-year contract from Athletic Bilbao in June 2005 for £8million. He made 32 appearances for the club but failed to live up to expectations.

He hit the headlines when he was sent off for a wild challenge on Barcelona forward Lionel Messi during Chelsea's 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League first knockout round in February.

Although he was selected as part of the Spain squad for the World Cup in Germany he had to withdraw at the last minute after suffering a recurrence of an Achilles tendon problem.

Valencia finished third in the Primera Liga to earn a place in the Champions League third qualifying round this season.

Spanish media are reporting Valencia are also close to securing Portugal winger Simao Sabrosa from Benfica.