MILAN Juventus have signed Venezuela captain Tomas Rincon from Serie A rivals Genoa, the Italian champions said on Tuesday, in an attempt to boost their midfield.
Juve paid 8 million euros ($8.3 million) for the 28-year-old defensive midfielder, who has signed a four-year contract with the Turin club.
Rincon played for Bundesliga side Hamburg SV for five years before moving to Italy in 2014 and he has represented his country 81 times, helping them reach the Copa America semi-final in 2011.
Only a handful of Venezuelan players have established themselves in Europe's top leagues and Rincon's move makes him arguably the country's most successful yet.
Previously, Juan Arango spent five seasons at Borussia Moenchengladbach, where he became known for his free kicks, while Salomon Rondon has become a regular fixture in the English Premier League with West Bromwich Albion.
"For my country, the fact that I have arrived at Juventus is something marvellous," Rincon told reporters. "Our football is getting better all the time and the fact that a Venezuelan player is at an important club like this one could open more doors for my compatriots.
"This is an important moment for Venezuela and I'm very happy to carry my flag. I want to tell all the children of my country that nothing is impossible, that dreams can become reality.
"It's been a long journey for me," he added. "I was in Germany for five years, which improved me as a player and a person... it was a drastic change for a youngster arriving from South America."
Rincon promised Juve fans "a lot of hard work, because it’s an honour for me to be here and I’ll make myself available for whatever the team needs. I’ll always work hard and try to always win."
(Reporting by Ed Osmond and Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis)