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Football: Valbuena relishes Russian league debut

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

France international Mathieu Valbuena said he was pleased with his Russian league debut for Dynamo Moscow despite being on the losing side in the capital's derby match against Spartak.

"We played a good match with Spartak but unfortunately lost the derby," Valbuena was quoted as saying by Sport Express daily on Monday.

"We're all upset with the defeat as we had plenty of chances to save the day. Hopefully, we will manage to grab all three points at Ufa on Wednesday."

Valbuena completed his transfer from Marseille to Dynamo Moscow for an estimated 7.5 million euros (£6m, $10m) last week and the Frenchman said he had been given a warm welcome.

"I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere in the team, which gave me a really hearty welcome," he said.

"And I was pleased to discover that Dynamo have some French-speaking guys, (Christopher) Samba and (William) Vainqueur."

Valbuena added that during his talks with Dynamo he had been in touch with the French national manager Didier Deschamps, who approved his choice.

"He (Deschamps) knows me really well," said Valbuena, who won 38 caps for France, including featuring in four games during Les Bleus' run to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Brazil last month.

"And he approved my choice. My international career is very important for me and I always want to be fighting for a place in the national team. I have set myself a big goal - to play at Euro 2016 in France," the 29-year-old midfielder said.

"I thoroughly thought through my move to Dynamo as I'd never previously played outside France. But I will not feel nostalgic any more. There're new matches, a new life before me. Now I'm part of Dynamo and I'm set to help the club to achieve their goals for the season."

Valbuena added that he had also been impressed by Dynamo manager Stanislav Charchesov.

"He's a strict coach but he really loves his players," the Frenchman said.

"He demands his footballers to play spectacular football and hates losing. I think he's a very good coach."

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