sport

Rodrigo aims to lift Valencia

New Valencia signing Rodrigo has pledged to return the fallen Spanish giants "to their rightful place".

The 23-year-old forward completed a loan move to Valencia from Benfica on Wednesday, and is expected to be offered a permanent contract next year.

The former Spain under-21 international averaged a goal in every two league games last season, helping Benfica win a domestic treble and reach the final of the Europa League, where they lost to Sevilla on penalties.

Now his aim is to help Valencia rise again after they slumped to their worst league finish in 16 years last season,

"I come here with the hope of returning Valencia to their rightful place in Spanish football," Rodrigo said at his unveiling.

"I want to perform at the highest level for this club and I will demand the highest standards of myself."

Rodrigo claimed he had turned down offers from clubs that could offer him European football and higher wages, but said he was intent on returning to Spain, where he began his professional career.

Valencia president Amadeo Salvo, meanwhile, hailed Rodrigo and his new striking partner Paco Alcacer as "the future of the Spanish national team".

Rodrigo flew to Peru on Thursday morning to meet up with the rest of the Valencia squad and new coach Nuno Espirito Santo ahead of the club's pre-season tour of Latin America.