France international playmaker Mathieu Valbuena has signed for Lyon just a year after moving to Russia, the French Ligue 1 club said on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old left Marseille 12 months ago to join Dynamo Moscow for 7 million euros ($7.75 million) on a three-year deal, but now he is back in his homeland as he bids to win a place in the France squad for Euro 2016.
Valbuena has signed a three-year deal worth five million euros ($5.5 million) with Lyon, who won the last of their consecutive seven-time French league titles in 2008.
The player passed a medical in Lyon on Tuesday morning and was later officially unveiled.
“I don’t regret anything with Dynamo Moscow where everything went well the first season but for my second year the sporting objectives were no longer in line with what I wanted,” said Valbuena after Dynamo were sidelined from the Europa League by UEFA for breaking financial fair play rules.
“We know Lyon’s level after a very good 2015 season and also qualifying for the Champions League. All that played a role in my decision,” said Valbuena, who began his career at Libourne before moving to Marseille in 2006, spending eight seasons at the Velodrome.
He won the French title with the southern giants in 2010, the same year he made his France debut — he has since scored seven goals in 48 appearances for the national team.
Valbuena’s salary was not revealed but it will not be close to the six million euros a year he earned in Moscow.
The 1.67m player – nicknamed “Petit v lo” (little bicycle) due to his small stature – is Lyon’s fourth recruit after defenders Jeremy Morel (Marseille), Rafael (Manchester United) and striker Claudio Beauvue (Guingamp).
“I’m delighted to join Lyon. I arrive with a lot of humility and ambition to win titles, to bring experience,” said Valbuena.
“I was keen to return to France and with the interest shown by Lyon I jumped at the chance.”
Valbuena, who has scored seven goal in 48 appearances for Les Bleus, was looking for a higher profile with Lyon with an eye to the European championship at home.
“Obviously a European Championship or a World Cup is something very important. The French team, I’ve never denied it is my engine,” he said
“It’s something very important to play for your country.
“I didn’t hesitate a single second to return with so many objectives for this year which looks like being very exciting.”
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas admitted that he had been looking to sign Valbuena since the 2014 World Cup.
“He’s the boy for us. I’m very happy he’s here and I have a feeling that things will go well,” said .