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Page last updated at 17:20 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 18:20 UK

Cuellar seals 7.8m move to Villa

Carlos Cuellar
Cuellar is the Scottish Football Writers' Association player of the year

Aston Villa have signed defender Carlos Cuellar for 7.8m from Rangers.

The Midlands club invoked an exit clause in the player's contract for that amount and have signed the 26-year-old on a four-year deal.

Cuellar made it known he wanted to play in the English Premier League and is Villa's seventh signing of the summer.

"My ambition has always been to play for Spain and I believe that playing in the biggest league in the world will help me realise that," said Cuellar.

The player agreed personal terms and underwent a medical at Villa on Tuesday to complete the switch.

Cuellar moved to Ibrox from Spanish side Osasuna last summer and enjoyed a superb debut season for the club, helping them to the Uefa Cup final and winning both the Clydesdale Bank SPL and Scottish Football Writers' Association player of the year awards.

I am young and I want to play at the highest level

Carlos Cuellar

Rangers manager Walter Smith expressed his disappointment at Cuellar's decision to leave, having insisted the club did not need to sell him in order to balance the books following their shock Champions League exit last week to FBK Kaunas.

"This has come as a surprise and I am disappointed," he said.

"Carlos Cuellar has been a great player for the football club and inevitably there has been speculation about him playing in the Premier League.

"The club has received a substantial uplift in fee and we will now reinvest in the team."

Cuellar joins Curtis Davies, Steve Sidwell, Brad Friedel, Brad Guzan, Nicky Shorey and Luke Young as Villa's arrivals this summer.

606: DEBATE
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The Madrid-born centre back declined Rangers' offer of a new contract and substantial pay rise, but paid tribute to the club as a whole.

"When I told Martin Bain [Rangers chief executive] on Sunday that I wanted to leave, I did so with sadness," he said.

"The Rangers supporters have been fantastic to me, but I am young and I want to play at the highest level and I hope they will always welcome me back. I want to thank them for everything."


see also
Cuellar not on market says Smith
08 Aug 08 |  Rangers
Rangers team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Rangers


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