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Last Updated: Monday, 28 January 2008, 12:20 GMT
Mellberg to leave Villa for Juve
Olof Mellberg
Mellberg has made over 200 appearances for Aston Villa
Italian giants Juventus have reached an agreement to sign Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg at the end of the season on a three-year deal.

Villa had initially blocked the move but as the 30-year-old's contract runs out in June they agreed to let the Sweden international leave in July.

"I am very happy with this agreement. It will be an important experience.

"Now I must finish the season in an Aston Villa shirt but I really cannot wait to come to Juventus," he said.


Mellberg spent three years at Racing Santander before moving to Villa Park in 2001.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill praised Mellberg's dedication to the club despite his looming depature.

He said: "Olof has made a big contribution at Villa and is a true professional.

"But if someone like Juventus shows an interest, and within six months of your contract running out, I think you have to explore every avenue.

"I moved him from centre-half, where he would prefer to play, and he has never once complained to me about having to play virtually every week at right-back.

Wouldn't it be fantastic to take Villa into Europe?"

Olof Mellberg

"He told me a while back that he wanted to have a look and see what was going to develop and I wish him all the best for the future."

Mellberg added: "I felt it was time for a new challenge, but my total focus in my performances for Villa.

"It would be great to have a good last season and wouldn't it be fantastic to take Villa into Europe?"

Juve coach Claudio Ranieri, the former Chelsea boss, has also signed Lazio defender Guglielmo Stendardo on loan until June.

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