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Heinze & Robben seal Real switch

23. 8. 2007

Real Madrid have completed the signings of Premier League duo Arjen Robben and Gabriel Heinze after they both passed routine medicals.

Chelsea winger Robben, 23, who has been a long-term target for the Spanish champions, has signed a five-year deal.

Real were believed to be ready to pay in the region of £21m for his services.

Heinze, 29, has arrived from Manchester United on a four-year deal after his club blocked the £8m-rated defender's preferred move to Liverpool.

After being unveiled at the Bernabeu, the Argentine said: "I am a man of few words but I always speak my mind and I am enormously proud to get the chance to play for Madrid.

"It is true that Lyon liked me and I am grateful for that, they are a great club.

"Nevertheless, I preferred Madrid because I think that any player would want to come to this team and for me I could not let this opportunity escape.

"Every player wants to play for one of greatest clubs in the world.

"It is a pleasure to wear this shirt. I am going to give everything, like I have done up until now. I hope that this year we can continue making the fans happy."

The Anfield outfit tabled a bid of more than £6.8m but United refused to let the Argentine join their bitter north-west rivals.

Heinze took his case to a Premier League arbitration panel but it ruled against him.

The Argentine, who had lost out on a first-team place at United to Patrice Evra, was considering lodging an appeal when Real made their move.

After three seasons at Old Trafford, he will become the third Manchester United player in four seasons to join the Spanish club, following on from David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Heinze will replace Brazilian Roberto Carlos, who left the Bernabeu to move to Turkish side Fenerbahce.

Robben joined the Blues from PSV Eindhoven for £12.1m in 2004.

The Dutchman said: "I want to thank the club, the president and the board for their effort and patience in signing me.

"There were many moments when I felt I was going to Madrid the next day and then it did not happen. It was a big relief when word came I could join.

"Today I have entered a dream world. I am enjoying every minute and I hope together we can win many things.

Robben won every domestic honour during his time at Stamford Bridge and says he will look back at his time at Chelsea fondly.

"I had three very nice years there," he added. "It was a great experience for me personally.

"I won every prize I could have won in England, so I'm very satisfied with that. Unfortunately I had too many injuries there so I could not give the impact that I wanted to.

"In my first year, I think I had a very good year, but then I had some bad luck and for me I see this as a new start, a new challenge, without any injuries and I hope I can stay out of the treatment room for a very long time."

Real president Ramon Calderon had targeted Robben in his election campaign and landed his man when Chelsea failed to persuade him to sign a long-term contract.

"He was one of the promises of our presidential candidacy for a simple reason - he is the best left winger in the world," Calderon said.

Speaking about the Robben deal, Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said: "We've done some very good business for Chelsea Football Club.

"The downside of that he is a very good player and we would have liked him to stay.

"But for whatever reason - and you will have to ask him - he did not want to stay here."

Robben has scored 19 goals in 104 appearances for the Blues.

But after a sensational start at Stamford Bridge, his progress was hindered by injury and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho brought in attacking midfielder Florent Malouda to replace him.

Robben will join fellow Dutchmen Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wesley Sneijder and Royston Drenthe at the Bernabeu.



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