Javier Saviola has announced that he will be leaving FC Barcelona in the summer "with a bitter taste" after refusing the offer of a new contract.
The 25-year-old forward, who won the UEFA Cup on loan with Sevilla FC in 2006, arranged a press conference to explain that he would leave Camp Nou when his contract expires later this month. "I'm leaving with my conscience clear, knowing that I've always tried to do my best," said the Argentinian. "I'm not singling anyone out, but I'm leaving with a bitter taste."
Saviola said that although the Catalan club made him a belated offer to renew his contract it was "more of an invitation to leave the club than anything else". Having joined from CA River Plate in 2001, he dropped down the pecking order following Frank Rijkaard's arrival as coach in 2003, and spent time on loan with AS Monaco FC in 2004 and Sevilla during 2005/06.
Velasco on the move
Elsewhere in Spain, defender Juan Velasco has announced that he will be leaving RCD Espanyol after the UEFA Cup finalists decided not to renew his one-year contract. The 30-year-old said: "These are my last years in football and I would like to play in England. I have enjoyed playing for Espanyol and I wish the club and the players all the best for the future."
Butelle loan plan
Finally, Valencia CF's French goalkeeper Ludovic Butelle has said that he is to join another Primera División club on a season-long loan as he seeks first-team football. The 24-year-old, who arrived from FC Metz in 2004, spent a season on loan at Hércules CF before returning to the Mestalla, where he has played just eight league games.
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