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Joaquin Completes Move to Valencia

Spanish winger Joaquin is now officially a Valencia player, completing a $32 million move from Real Betis. The deal was delayed last week by Betis' majority shareholder Manuel Ruiz de Lopera, who did not want to see its star player as a member of Los Che until after the two teams met for the first game of the season. Joaquin watched from the bench as yesterday's game ended 2-1 in favor of Valencia, after goals from Fernando Morientes and Raul Albiol. Joaquin is now the second most expensive signing of the off-season in Spain after Mahamadou Diarra completed a $33.2 million move from French club Olympique Lyonnais to Real Madrid a few weeks ago. That brings Valencia's total off-season spending to around $50 million, after adding Fernando Morientes from Liverpool, Francisco Tavano from Empoli, and Asier del Horno from Chelsea. Joaquin has played for Betis his whole life, graduating from the reserves to the first team in 2000, when the club was in the Second Division. Said a tearful Joaquin, "If any Betis fans feel hurt by my departure, I would like to apologize, but I felt that my cycle at the club had finished and like any employee I wanted to look for something new. I would like to thank the fans because I owe them everything. I have had six years here and I have had some fantastic experiences that I never expected to have. I have felt like an idol, a star and you feel that very deeply."

Read the whole story at ESPN Soccernet »

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