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By ESPN Staff
Aug 1, 2009

Marseille's Heinze: I was not forced out of Madrid

New Marseille defender Gabriel Heinze insists he was not forced out of Real Madrid.

The Argentina international has been unveiled as OM's 10th signing of the summer as coach Didier Deschamps continues his squad rebuilding ahead of the new season.

Heinze, 31, was not a regular at Real over the past two seasons and he did not appear to be in the plans of the Spanish side's new coach Manuel Pellegrini.

But he maintains he was not ushered out of the Bernabeu and was instead attracted by a fresh challenge at OM.

''It isn't a question of the plans of the Madrid coach,'' Heinze told Marseille's official club website, ''It is my own decision. I have experienced some amazing seasons at Real but the life of a footballer is like this.

''It leads you to change clubs and I am happy to be here and I am going to give my all.''

Real confirmed Heinze had been transferred to Marseille, although neither club have disclosed the length of contract or the fee involved.

It ends the centre-back's two-year spell in the Spanish capital, during which he started 41 Primera Division games for Real.

Although he was not a first-choice pick for his club, he has remained a regular for his country over the last two years.

Heinze even turned out for Argentina at the Stade Velodrome back in February, in their 2-0 friendly win over France.

As a former player for Paris St Germain, Marseille's biggest rivals, Heinze admits he did not expect to be back at OM so soon.

''I couldn't have imagined this back in February, especially considering the years I spent at PSG, but football is what it is.''

Heinze does not believe having played for PSG, where he was considered a fans' favourite, between 2001-04 is an issue.

''That's not a problem,'' he said. ''I'm convinced the PSG supporters are going to understand especially because they all know what I did for their club.

''From now on, I must make myself accepted by the OM supporters.''

Heinze, who can also play at left-back, now has a week to get himself settled before the new Ligue 1 campaign kicks off and he says he just needs games under his belt to recover his sharpness.

Deschamps, who has recruited Fernando Morientes, Fabrice Abriel, Lucho Gonzalez, Stephane M'Bia, Souleymane Diawara, Edouard Cisse, Cyril Rool, Elinton Andrade and Charley Fomen as well this summer, is delighted with his latest acquisition.

''He is a true defender who loves the fight, is tough and has technical qualities,'' said Deschamps, who is likely to play Heinze at centre-back alongside Souleymane Diawara.

''He isn't just a destroyer - he hasn't got more than 50 caps by chance. He has experience. He has no fear. His experience at big European clubs, in his international team, in European competitions means he knows pressure.''

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