Verdu rejects ‘mercenary’ accusation

New Real Betis signing Joan Verdu has rejected accusations he is a ‘mercenary’ following his move from Espanyol.

The Barcelona-born player was on the verge of a switch to Greek giants Olimpiacos, having failed to agree terms after four years at Cornella El-Prat, but instead opted to join Betis when the Andalusians came in at the last minute.

Nonetheless, the 30-year-old playmaker has defended himself against alleged accusations he engineered his departure for financial reasons.

“I appreciate a lot more things than money. Espanyol are going through a difficult time economically and it’s up to the directors to sort it out.

“I would not like them to call me a ‘mercenary’,” said Verdu in an interview with AS.

In fact, the former Deportivo de La Coruna player insists that after just five days with Los Beticos he has made the correct decision.

“The heat here traps you but everything else has been perfect. One of the good things is that Betis have a great squad and I’ve already realised this is a fantastic club that tries to make things easier for the players.

“After five days I know that I have made the right choice. Now we just need things to go well,” he declared.

Even so, Verdu claims he has not arrived at the Benito Villamarin as a direct replacement for Benat Exteberria, who has left for Athletic Bilbao.

“I’ve inherited the No 10 shirt from a player who did very well at Real Betis, but I will try to be my own man, for better or worse.

“It’s a jersey I’ve always liked, the one I wore at Espanyol and Depor, and to have the opportunity to do so here is both a responsibility and pleasure.”

Verdu also said he would like to win a trophy with his new club.

“That’s one of the things I haven’t done and I’d like to win something before the end of my career.

“I’d like to reach a final, which I never have,” he concluded.

Tags Verdu