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Page last updated at 12:16 GMT, Friday, 21 May 2010 13:16 UK

Spain striker David Villa completes Barcelona switch

David Villa with the Barcelona badge
David Villa scored 107 goals in 166 league matches in five seasons at Valencia

Barcelona have confirmed the signing of David Villa after the striker passed a medical at the Nou Camp on Friday.

The Spain star has signed a four-year deal after the Catalan side agreed a £34.2m fee with former club Valencia.

The 28-year-old is Barcelona's first summer capture, with Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas also said to be a target.

"Anybody would be happy to come to a club like this - as everybody says, this is the best team in the world," Villa told Barcelona's website.

"I'm very happy and proud to be here."

Barcelona also have the option of extending Villa's contract by another 12 months as well as negotiating a huge buyout clause of 200m Euros (£174.39m).

The man from Asturias, in the north of Spain, is a regular in his country's first team and will be highly fancied to make a big impact at the World Cup.

I want everyone to know that it has been a great source of pride for me to wear this shirt

David Villa on his five seasons at Valencia

He scored 107 goals in 166 league matches for Valencia, earning his reputation as one of the deadliest strikers in the world.

Villa's arrival further strengthens manager Pep Guardiola's stellar squad, which boasts a dazzling array of some of the world's best players.

"It's always hard to score goals, but when you have players like Xavi, (Lionel) Messi, (Sergio) Busquets, (Seydou) Keita or Pedro (Rodriguez) around you, it's bound to be a little easier for a striker," added Villa.

After a board meeting at Valencia on Wednesday morning, Manuel Llorente, the president of the club known as "Los Che", said they had accepted Barca's offer.

"As everyone knows we could have done this deal last year but we thought at that moment it was best to keep our squad together to try and get into the Champions League," he said.

"We have achieved that aim and finished third in the league, and he has contributed a lot towards this. We think it is a good sale and necessary for the economic situation of the club."

Despite his elation following his move to the Catalan capital, Villa admitted he was sad to leave Valencia after five seasons.

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"I get a lot of feelings, leaving many friends, but knowing that it is good for the club," he said in an open letter.

"At Valencia I have grown as a player and as a person. At Valencia I have felt at home from day one and nobody will doubt it to be that way forever.

"I want everyone to know that it has been a great source of pride for me to wear this shirt. It has given me so much and I will always carry it in my heart."

His arrival at Barcelona is likely to lead to increased speculation over the futures of strikers Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Henry appears to be on the verge of a move to Major League Soccer, with Barcelona's outgoing president Joan Laporta revealing there was "a lot of interest" in the 32-year-old French forward from the United States.

And Barca technical director Txiki Begiristain said: "I have reason to think that he is not really happy with the situation and that he wants a solution."

Meanwhile, Laporta claimed on Tuesday the club were "satisfied" with the 21-goal contribution of Ibrahimovic in his first season since arriving from Inter Milan.

Begiristain added: "I think that for three-quarters of the season Ibra was spectacular. But he is not for sale.

"We only want to have a more competitive team. But if a player, not just Henry, tells us that he is not happy we are ready to talk."

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see also
Fabregas inspired by Wenger talk
26 May 10 |  Arsenal
Villa puts Valencia into quarters
18 Mar 10 |  Europe
Injured trio make Spanish squad
11 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Aragones hails Villa and Torres
10 Jun 08 |  Spain


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