Javier Saviola has spoken of his determination to focus on the future after finalising his free transfer move from FC Barcelona to arch-rivals Real Madrid CF.
The 25-year-old, who was presented to the Madrid faithful today after passing a medical and agreeing a four-year contract, had been with Barcelona since the 2001/02 campaign but after three seasons as a Camp Nou regular found himself surplus to requirements. He was loaned to AS Monaco FC for the 2004/05 season before a similar spell at Sevilla FC a year later. He returned to Barcelona for the final year of his contract last season but made just 18 league appearances, scoring five goals, as they finished runners-up behind champions Madrid.
In all, Saviola played just 123 league games for Barça, scoring 49 goals, and is eager to settle at the Santiago Bernabéu under new coach Bernd Schuster, who also has the rare honour of representing both of Spain's big two during his playing days. Saviola will link up with compatriots Fernando Gago and Gonzalo Higuaín, while the new-look Madrid also have two fresh defensive recruits in Pepe and Christoph Metzelder and Polish goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek is due to sign soon.
Speaking to Madrid's official website, Saviola said: "This is a beautiful moment for me, I hope we can have a great season. I want to prove what I can do on the pitch. It's time to leave the past behind and I’m now mentally prepared to start a new stage in my career." The Buenos Aires-born forward began his career at CA River Plate in his homeland, where 46 goals in 88 league matches soon brought him to the attention of the Catalan club's scouts. Both Madrid and Barcelona will compete in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League group stage, although they cannot be paired together.
Meanwhile, Madrid have rewarded full-back Miguel Torres for his impressive rise through the club's junior ranks to the first team with a new five-year deal. The 21-year-old was drafted in last term following injuries to Michel Salgado and Cicinho and went on to make 18 league appearances. "This is the most important day of my life but I know I can't afford to relax now," he said. "I need to continue to work hard in order to take advantage of this important opportunity in my career." The news comes after Sergio Ramos and Roberto Soldado also accepted improved contracts.
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