Aimar flattered Zaragoza came looking for him

July 31, 2006

MADRID, July 31 (Reuters) - Argentina midfielder Pablo Aimar has said he was flattered by the interest shown by Real Zaragoza in coming to sign him from Valencia.

'I joined Zaragoza because the coach (Victor Fernandez) called me, and because they came looking for me which is not normal in the world of football where the players usually offer themselves,' Aimar told a news conference on Monday.

Zaragoza are reported to have paid around 11 million euros ($14 million) for the 26-year-old, who signed a four-year contract on Saturday.

In announcing the deal the club described Aimar's arrival as the most important signing in their history.

Aimar said: 'Although it is a smaller club than Valencia, in a few years hopefully you will be able to say there aren't many clubs bigger than Zaragoza.'

Aimar, who has won 43 caps with Argentina, joined Valencia from River Plate in 2001 for $20 million.

He went on to win two Primera Liga titles and the UEFA Cup in 2004 with Valencia, but was considered surplus to requirements for next season by coach Quique Sanchez Flores.

Zaragoza's new coach has already bought in Argentine midfielder Andres D'Alessandro on loan from Wolfsburg, and defenders Sergio Fernandez and Juanfran.

They finished 11th in the league last season and lost to Espanyol in the final of the King's Cup.