Marquez: I took pay cut to join Hellas

The 35-year-old said he turned down several clubs to join the Italian side and admitted he was desperate to return to Europe

Rafa Marquez has revealed he took a pay cut in order to make his surprise move to Serie A side Hellas Verona.

Earlier this week, the former Barcelona player completed a move to the Italian club from Mexican club Leon.

And the Mexico captain says he took a pay cut to join the Verona club as he was desperate to return to Europe. 

“I signed a contract for lower figures than I was on [at Leon],” the 35-year-old said in a press conference as he was unveiled at his new club.

“I only wanted to return to Europe and play with Hellas Verona, money wasn’t important in this decision.”

Marquez noted that Verona wasn’t the only European club interested in him and that he is looking forward to squaring up against AC Milan striker Mario Ballotelli in the upcoming season.

The Mexico captain at Brazil also said he admired the history of one past Milan legend. 

“I’ve got examples of other great defenders that played in Serie A, like Paolo Maldini, who has also been a reference point for me.”

The former Barcelona player said the primary objective at Verona will be to survive, but that he is aiming to finish as high as possible and replicate the success at Leon, where Marquez won consecutive championships, despite joining the club when avoiding relegation was the main concern.

Official: Chico Flores departs Swansea for Lekhwiya


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Official: Barcelona sign Vermaelen from Arsenal

The Belgium international passed a thorough medical earlier on Saturday and has now completed a move to the Catalan club for a fee of €19m


By Ben Hayward in Barcelona

Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen has completed a €19 million move to Barcelona, the Catalan club confirmed on Saturday.

The centre-back agreed to join the Catalan club late last week, after rejecting the overtures of Manchester United in favour of a summer switch to Camp Nou and flew in to Barcelona on Saturday morning for his medical ahead of the transfer, which will cost the Catalans an initial €15m and an additional €4m in extras.

The 28-year-old has been blighted by injuries over the last few seasons and was given a thorough, two-part examination by the Blaugrana at the Hospital de Barcelona and later at the Clinica de la Creu Blanca.

However, Vermaelen came through the tests without any problems and is set to become the second centre-back to join the Catalan club this summer, after Jeremy Mathieu arrived from Valencia in a €20m deal last month.

The defender, who becomes the third former Arsenal captain to join Barca in seven years (after Thierry Henry in 2007 and Cesc Fabregas in 2011), could be unveiled at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Pellegrini: I have no trophy target at Manchester City

The Chilean boss has denied that he has a quota to meet but reiterated that he will look to win as much silverware as possible in the upcoming campaign


Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has dismissed the club’s stated target of winning five trophies in five years.

City chief executive Ferran Soriano revealed in May 2013 that he wanted the club to win an average of one major trophy – meaning the Champions League, the Premier League or the FA Cup – per season up to 2018.

Pellegrini – appointed as successor to Roberto Mancini in the same month – made a strong start towards achieving that goal by securing the Premier League title and the Capital One Cup in his maiden season at the Etihad Stadium.

City are likely to face a stern challenge if they are to enjoy further success in the upcoming campaign, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United all having strengthened their squads in the recent weeks.

However, speaking ahead of Sunday’s Community Shield clash with Arsene Wenger’s FA Cup winners, Pellegrini stressed that he is not concerned with any sort of trophy target.

When asked about Soriano’s comments Pellegrini said: “I don’t have a target to win five titles.

“Every time I play a competition, I want to win it. But that thing that we have to win five titles in five years – for me it is not important.

“We will play in the four competitions we must play in and we will try to continue in all competitions as far as we can. Exactly the same as last year.

“We continue trying to win the Premier League, the FA Cup, the Capital One Cup and the Champions League, and we will see during the season what we can do.”

Vermaelen passes medical ahead of €19m move to Barcelona

The Belgium international is in the Catalan capital to finalise his transfer to Camp Nou and could be unveiled as a Blaugrana player as early as Sunday

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By Ben Hayward in Barcelona

Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen has passed his medical ahead of a proposed €19 million move to Barcelona.

The centre-back agreed to join the Catalan club late last week, after rejecting the overtures of Manchester United in favour of a summer switch to Camp Nou.

The Belgium international flew to Barcelona on Saturday morning for his medical ahead of the transfer, which will cost the Catalans an initial €15m and an additional €4m in extras.

The 28-year-old has been blighted by injuries over the last few seasons and was given a thorough, two-part examination by the Blaugrana at the Hospital de Barcelona and later at the Clinica de la Creu Blanca.

However, Vermaelen came through the tests without any problems and is set to become the second centre-back to join the Catalan club this summer, after Jeremy Mathieu arrived from Valencia in a €20m deal last month.

The defender, who becomes the third former Arsenal captain to join Barca in seven years (after Thierry Henry in 2007 and Cesc Fabregas in 2011), could be unveiled at Camp Nou on Sunday.

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