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April 26, 2017

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Zenit signs Man City's Javi Garcia for 5 years

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Zenit St. Petersburg contracted midfielder Javi Garcia from Manchester City on a five-year deal on Thursday.

Zenit said a fee was agreed on with City, Garcia passed a medical, and "will join up with the team in the near future."

Garcia, 27, left after two years with City, where he won the English Premier League and League Cup last season. City's signing of Brazilian midfielder Fernando in June meant extra competition for Garcia's holding midfield role.

Garcia said Zenit manager Andre Villas-Boas, formerly of Tottenham and Chelsea, persuaded him to switch to Russia.

"He's one of the main reasons I've come to Petersburg," Garcia said. "Andre told me a lot about the club's project, and that we can achieve a lot together."

Garcia said he chose the No. 21 shirt at Zenit as a tribute to his former Real Madrid teammate Ruben de la Red, who was forced to retire in 2010 due to a heart problem.

Zenit finished second in the Russian Premier League to CSKA Moscow last season, and will face Belgian side Standard Liege in the Champions League playoff round next week.

Garcia was Zenit's second major signing of the summer after Argentina defender Ezequiel Garay joined from Benfica in June.

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