Angel completes move to New York Red Bulls
Juan Pablo Angel has revealed his excitement at being part of the American soccer revolution as he ended his six-year spell at Aston Villa.
The Colombia international today signed a three-year deal with Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls subject to obtaining a work permit.
The 31-year-old will follow the likes of David Beckham in trying to make soccer a success in the United States after the previous attempts in the 1970s and then after the 1994 World Cup.
Angel cost Villa a club record £9.5million when he signed from River Plate in January 2001 but his days have looked numbered since the arrival of John Carew and Ashley Young during the January transfer window.
Now he has the chance to relaunch his career and is thrilled at the challenges which lie ahead.
Angel said: 'It was a big decision for me but I'm so excited about what lies ahead. It's going to be a new chapter in my career.
'I am very excited about being part of trying to make the league take off and become big in America.
'The Red Bulls coach Bruce Arena is the most successful manager in American soccer history and there are four or five other international players at the club.
'Other big names have moved into the league, and that says everything when someone of his stature decides to become part of things.'
Angel has enjoyed mixed fortunes at Villa with his best season in 2003-04 when he netted 23 times as the club just missed out on a UEFA Cup spot on goal difference to Newcastle.
He started this season in the side and netted seven goals before Christmas but has failed to make the substitutes' bench in eight of Villa's last nine games.
Angel said: 'We started the season very well but the performances of the team in general dropped in December and the manager was looking for changes.
'Once January came and people arrived, I knew opportunities would be more limited but Martin O'Neill was always very straightforward with me.
'I wanted to play regular football and that wasn't going to be guaranteed here so I decided to move on to this marvellous new challenge.
'The big disappointment is that we never won a trophy. I will always have great memories of Villa but the fact is people will remember you if you win things and that is the sad part of this period.'
Angel wishes that the revolution at Villa involving O'Neill and new owner Randy Lerner had taken place earlier in his career.
He said: 'I wish these changes had happened three or four years ago but the fact it is happening now is exciting for everyone. It needed some changes and I'm sure the manager and the owner will do everything possible to make the club successful and take it to where they want it to belong.'
Angel initially struggled to make an impact at Villa but 16 goals in his second season established him as a hero on the Holte End.
It was David O'Leary who brought the best out of him during his first season in charge at Villa with the 23-goal return, including 16 in the Premiership.
But Angel has struggled to reproduce that form in the past two seasons until the arrival of O'Neill briefly reignited that form.