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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 28, 2006

Joaquin completes €25m move to Valencia

MADRID, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Spain winger Joaquin was greeted by close to 10,000 ecstatic fans at Valencia's Mestalla stadium after he completed a convoluted 25-million euro ($32 million) move from Real Betis on Monday.

'It is a pleasure to present one of the best players in his position in the world,' said Valencia president Juan Bautista Soler after the international had signed a six-year deal with the Primera Liga side.

'I have had to endure some very tough moments in the last few weeks,' said Joaquin. 'But this reception makes up for everything.'

The deal had been expected to go through last week but Betis's majority shareholder Manuel Ruiz de Lopera delayed it until he received the necessary payment guarantees and his side had played their opening league match against Valencia.

Although neither team revealed the terms of the deal, Spanish media reported that Valencia had paid a club-record fee of around 25 million euros for the Spain international.

The deal makes Joaquin the second most expensive signing of the close season in Spain behind Mali midfielder Mahamadou Diarra who joined Real Madrid for an estimated 26 million euros last week.

It brings Valencia's spending since the end of last season to in excess of 45 million euros. They have also brought in strikers Fernando Morientes and Francesco Tavano and left back Asier del Horno.

Joaquin, who has won 42 caps for Spain and was part of the squad for the World Cup, graduated to the Betis first team from the reserves in 2000 when the club was in the second division and has been a favourite with the fans ever since.

He played a key role in helping the Andalucians to victory in the King's Cup in 2005 and in qualification for last season's Champions League.

The winger made a tearful farewell to the club's supporters at a news conference in Seville earlier on Monday.

'I would like to thank the fans because I owe them everything,' he said. 'I have had six years here and I have had some fantastic experiences that I never expected to have. I have felt like an idol, a star and you feel that very deeply.

'If any Betis fans feel hurt by my departure I would like to apologise, but I felt that my cycle at the club had finished and like any employee I wanted to look for something new. It was an honour that a club like Valencia wanted to sign me.'

Valencia have qualified for the group phase of the Champions League where they have been drawn against AS Roma, Olympiakos and Shakhtar Donetsk in Group D.