Mon, Aug 14, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Valencia look set to punish Ayala for criticizing the club

AGENCIES , MADRID

Valencia said they had opened disciplinary proceedings yesterday against Argentine international center back Roberto Ayala for his criticisms of the club last week.

Ayala railed against club president Juan Bautista Soler and sporting director Amedeo Carboni for failing to honor a promised contract extension and accused the two men of having cheated him.

The 33-year-old also welcomed reported interest from neighboring club Villarreal by saying he would welcome a move there because he would be better appreciated.

Ayala, who played for Argentina in the World Cup, joined Valencia in 2000 from AC Milan and has helped the club win two Spanish league titles as well as the UEFA Cup.

"I wanted to stay here until the end of my career but that dream had now disappeared because certain people did not keep their word," Ayala told a news conference on Friday.

"It hurts that I have been cheated by a club for which I have given everything," he said. "I was forced to take this decision and I have told both the coach and president that I want to leave."

Valencia responded by accusing the 33-year-old of being more interested in money than playing for the club.

"I profoundly lament these comments that have come at a most inopportune moment," Carboni told the club's Web site.

"At the same time the comments have opened our eyes and strengthened our desire to count on players who are truly committed to the club and less interested in cheques."

Ayala is under contract with Valencia until the end of the season.

Regional rivals Villarreal are interested in signing the former Argentina captain, but Valencia have said they will not negotiate over the player.

Ayala sat in the stands as his side beat AS Roma 2-0 in a pre-season friendly at their Mestella Stadium on Saturday.

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