Ajax sign Gabri

Ajax sign Gabri

Ajax have signed Gabriel GarcĂ­a de la Torre (Gabri). The contract with Gabri will run for three years, starting on 1 July 2006.

Gabri, 27 years old, comes from FC Barcelona where he played since 1997. The midfielder won two national championships with the Spanish club and recently captured the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona.

Gabri has played for several Spanish national teams. He won the world title with Spain under 20 in 1999, a silver medal in the Olympic Games of Sydney in 2000 and he has earned three caps for Spain's senior national team.

Gabri about his transfer: ,,I chose for Ajax firstly because of coach Henk ten Cate, with whom I worked in Barcelona for three years, he knows me well and I know him well. He has convinced me that this is a good choice. Secondly I chose Ajax because of the club, the history, the level. Ajax is big club in the world. With Ajax we can play for the championship. Other clubs could not offer me what Ajax had to offer. Also, Barcelona and Ajax are quite similar. Both clubs have a famous youth academy. where young talents are groomed for the first team from a young age, and the playing styles are similar as well. I think I will be able to adjust quickly to the club culture and the playing style because of those similarities."

Normally football players go the other way: from Ajax to Barcelona. Gabri is the first one to do it differently. ,,History is there to be reversed'', said Henk ten Cate smiling. Gabri agrees with his coach. ,,But I have worked with many Dutchmen, both players and coaches at Barcelona. I obviously know Rijkaard very well and I have also played under Van Gaal. For me it's no problem to work in a country that has sprung so many good footballers."

Gabri doesnot know many of his new teammates, but the coach has filled him in. ,,Ten Cate told me that it is a young and talented team. I saw that in last season's Champions League and I also wathed the European Championship under 21. Good players! Maybe I can contribute some of my experience, both on and off the pitch. At 27, I will be one of the older players. I hope that we can get the maximum result out of the team in the next few seasons, there is much talent and future in the squad.''

Ten Cate was pleased with his new acquisition. ,,He is a winner, a player with many qualities and great stamina. He is a midfielder with who goes deep and knows how to find the striker. I am very happy with his arrival.''