Ibrahim Affelay 'very happy' to join Barcelona

Speaking in reasonable Spanish, the Netherlands World Cup midfielder said: "I am very happy to join the best club in the world. I will wear this shirt with pride and respect."

Affelay, 24, was signed by Barca from PSV Eindhoven for three million euros ($3.93 million), a low price for such a promising player but due to the fact that his PSV contract was expiring in June 2011.

Barca normally do not sign players in the winter transfer window, but coach Pep Guardiola is keen to strengthen his talented but thin squad.

Affelay, who has signed a four-year contract, said that "there are great players here but I am going to show what I am capable of. It is an honour for me to be here".

When asked why he had chosen Barca ahead of the other clubs that were interested in him, he replied: "Since I was a boy I wanted to play for Barca. For me it is a dream to be here."

Online polls in Catalan papers Sport and Mundo Deportivo showed Friday that almost all Barca fans are pleased with his arrival.

Sport described the signing as "without risk", whilst Mundo Deportivo claimed that Affelay "has the correct level" to play for Barca. He could make his debut in the Jan 2 home game against lowly Levante.

Barca are two points above Real Madrid at the top of La Liga, and will face Arsenal in the Champions League round of 16.

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