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By ESPN Staff

Rivaldo leaves AEK, bound for Uzbekistan

Rivaldo has left AEK Athens amid reports he is set to complete a move to a club in Uzbekistan.

AEK confirmed in a statement on the club website on Wednesday that Rivaldo's contract has been ended, freeing the 36-year-old to potentially join Bunyodkor.

'AEK Athens announces the resolution of the contract of Vitor Borba Ferreira Rivaldo,' the statement said.

'The club thanks one of the leading footballers in the world for his time in the team and wishes him every success in his decision to continue his career outside Greece.'

On Monday, Rivaldo told AEK he wanted to leave Athens and accept a lucrative contract Bunyodkor.

In a radio interview, the veteran Brazilian forward revealed he held talks with AEK chairman Demis Nikolaidis last week and informed him that he has been made an 'extremely tempting contract offer'.

'It was a difficult decision to make but I have received an offer that is very good for the end of my career,' he told NovoSport FM.

'I had a great time at AEK. I thank the president and the fans but the offer is very good for me and my family.

'It is a very good proposal and I cannot turn it down. I would like to ask for a million apologies because there is so little time in the transfer window for the club to replace me but it was an exceptional proposal.'

The Asian club, previously known as PFC Kurivchi, finished runners-up in the Uzbek league last season and have tried to match their growing success on the field with big-name signings.

Earlier this summer, Bunyodkor sensationally claimed to have signed Samuel Eto'o but what would have been one of the most surprising transfers of all time was never confirmed and the Cameroon striker remains at Barcelona.

The news of Rivaldo's departure comes just five days after Nikolaidis announced he would be stepping down at the end of this season.

The former AEK striker headed a consortium which took over the Athens club in 2004 but cited the lack of support from fans as one of the reason why he would not continue in his role. Rivaldo said his decision was not connected to Nikolaidis's departure.

AEK play Cypriot side Omonia Nicosia in the UEFA Cup on Thursday, with the Yellows looking to overturn a 1-0 defeat from the first leg.


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