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Rediff.com  » Sports » Kluivert agrees to join Valencia

Kluivert agrees to join Valencia

June 04, 2005 12:39 IST

Dutch international striker Patrick Kluivert has agreed a three-year contract with Valencia, the Spanish Primera Liga side said on Friday.

The 28-year-old, who will arrive on a free transfer from Newcastle United, is due to undergo a medical at Valencia next Thursday.

Kluivert joined Newcastle on a three-year deal after being released by Barcelona at the end of the 2003-04 season, but failed to live up to expectations.

He started 25 games in all competitions and scored 13 goals in a disappointing season for Newcastle who finished only 14th in the English Premier League.

Valencia, Spanish champions in 2002 and 2004, came only seventh last season and appointed Quique Sanchez Flores as their new coach this week.

"Valencia is an enormous team and therefore I am very excited about this agreement," Kluivert was quoted as saying by Dutch media.

"I have good memories of Spain and therefore I'm glad to make my return, I'm looking forward to playing in the Primera Liga again."

SURPRISE DECISION

Valencia's Spanish international Vicente said Kluivert's Primera Liga experience could be invaluable.

"He knows the Spanish league very well, has scored lots of goals and that is important," the midfielder said at a Spanish national team news conference.

"He wasn't in good form in his final season at Barcelona, but if the club has signed him then it will be because they believe he can go a very good job."

Kluivert, who has been involved in a number of controversial off-field incidents during his career, made his name when he scored for Ajax in their 1-0 victory over AC Milan in the 1995 Champions League final.

After a frustrating spell at AC Milan, he moved to Barcelona for $13 million where he was reunited with former Ajax coach Louis van Gaal and played an important part in helping them win the league title in 1999.

A consistent performer for the following three years, he had a trouble-torn final season at Barcelona where has was jeered by the fans for his failure to find the net.

He spent two months on the sidelines and scored just eight league goals in 21 appearances before Barcelona offloaded him with a year left on his contract.

He signed for Newcastle last July when former Barcelona boss Bobby Robson was still in charge at St James' Park but his season was blighted by injury and inconsistent performances.

Kluivert's best displays came in the FA Cup where he scored the goals that knocked out Chelsea in the fifth round and Tottenham Hotspur in the quarter-finals.

He has scored 40 times in 79 internationals but was overlooked for Euro 2004 and has not represented his country under new coach Marco van Basten.

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