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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 February, 2004, 15:53 GMT
Hadji signs for Espanyol
Mustapha Hadji
Hadji has already experienced football in La Liga
Aston Villa have cancelled the contract of Moroccan midfielder Mustapha Hadji, who has joined La Liga side Espanyol.

The 32-year-old had fallen out of favour at Villa Park and was deemed surplus to requirements by manager David O'Leary.

Hadji has had a previous stint in Spain playing for Deportivo La Coruna.

The ex-African Player of the Year joined Villa from Coventry in 2001 in a swap deal involving Julian Joachim.

Hadji admitted he was relishing the prospect of getting regular first-team football.

He said: "It feels such a relief to get this move and I am absolutely delighted.

"It gives me a chance to play again after so long on the sidelines, and that's all I ever wanted.

"It is sad what happened at Villa. I never wanted to leave and it has been a very frustrating time for me.

"I'd just like thank the people who stood by me, and that particularly includes the fans who have always been behind me and made me feel welcome.

"I honestly don't know what was wrong. That's for the manager to answer, but I've not been happy because I love to play and I really cannot explain why I was not picked.

"But I have never lost belief in my ability. It has been hard but I always knew that one day things would turn and hopefully things can now change for the better."

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