World Cup winner Rulli confirms Ajax switch from Villarreal

Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli, a World Cup winner with Argentina in December, has confirmed he will sign for Dutch champions Ajax.

The 30-year-old, who was on the bench in Qatar behind first choice stopper Emiliano Martinez, won the Europa League with the Spanish side in 2021.

Reports in Spain say Ajax will pay Villarreal around 10 million euros (10.53 million dollars) for the goalkeeper.

"The truth is it all happened very quickly, we all wanted to do our part for it to turn out this way, and that's how it did," Rulli told reporters at the club's training ground on Thursday, per Spanish newspaper AS.

"It was good for the club, for me as well, and Ajax were very interested.

"I am happy for the achievements in these years here, for the path I have taken and I am very excited for what is coming now."

The goalkeeper, who signed for Real Sociedad from Manchester City, where he did not play a game, joined Villarreal in 2020.

The goalkeeper scored the winning penalty kick against Manchester United in the 2021 Europa League final and then saved opposite number David de Gea's effort to seal the victory in Gdansk.

"I will never forget that moment in my life, each time I think about it, my hairs stand on end," added the goalkeeper.

"It was a hard decision to take (to leave), there is nowhere I feel more comfortable than here, that's something I saw before I came.

"But I am happy for the step that I will take in my career and I will miss (everyone here) a lot."

Villarreal coach Quique Setien has veteran Spanish stopper Pepe Reina, 40, and 20-year-old Dane Filip Jorgensen available to replace Rulli.

rbs/pb