Bundesliga

Javi Martinez joins Bayern Munich

August 29, 2012
By ESPN.com news services

Bayern Munich signed midfielder Javi Martinez from Athletic Bilbao in the richest transfer in the 50-year history of the Bundesliga.

no_source / Scott Heavey/Getty ImagesJavi Martinez signed a five-year deal with Bayern Munich, who landed the Athletic Bilbao midfielder for a Bundesliga-record $50 million transfer fee.

The 23-year-old Spanish defensive midfielder cost Bayern 40 million euros ($50 million), breaking the previous transfer record set when Mario Gomez joined Bayern from VfB Stuttgart in 2009.

Gomez's transfer reportedly cost between 30 million and 35 million euros ($37.5 million and ($43.8 million).

Martinez signed a five-year contract, which is set to expire on June 30, 2017.

"I'm very happy and really looking forward to playing for a club with this extraordinary history," he told FCB.tv. "I've had to wait a long time for this, but the waiting is over at last."

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the transfer was "very complicated, because Athletic Bilbao refused to cooperate from the very first day."

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinze Rummenigge, meanwhile, defended the amount of money paid out for Martinez.

"Of course this is a large sum," he said, "but the player plays an indirect part in it by giving up a large chunk of his salary.

Earlier Wednesday, Athletic caused confusion when they said in a statement that they didn't authorize Martinez to travel to Germany on Tuesday to meet with Bayern.

Martinez will be introduced by Bayern at a news conference in Munich on Thursday.

"Bayern are one of the best teams in Europe and throughout the world. There are so many top players here who play fantastic football -- that's a big motivation for me," he said. "And, of course I want to win the title."

Rummenigge said coach Jupp Heynckes would decide whether Martinez plays this weekend against Stuttgart.

"However, he has demonstrated in recent days the fact he is a strong personality, and he has already shown a remarkable affinity with Bayern," Rummenigge said.

Information from Press Association was used in this report.