Bacary Sagna signs for Serie A minnows Benevento, targets World Cup

Former Arsenal and Manchester City defender Bacary Sagna has signed for Benevento, who are currently bottom of Serie A.

Sagna, 34, has been without a club since his City contract ended last summer and was training on his own in London as he considered offers.

But now he has made the decision to move to Serie A and revealed that it was the spirit of Benevento that persuaded him to make the shock move.

"In the past few months, I have had several offers from clubs in the top leagues in England, France, Spain, Turkey, MLS and elsewhere in Italy," he told FootballFanCast.com. "However, they were not the right moves for myself or my family.

"Going to Benevento is not a move I am making for financial reasons. I could have gone to many other clubs, many of whom made substantial offers to me. My career for the past decade has been at the very top level, what Benevento offers me is the opportunity to represent the underdog and to play for a club whose story is such a beautiful one.

"In an era when football has become more of a business at many clubs than an actual sport, Benevento represents the heart and soul of what a football club should be about. Passion, heart, hope, joy, love and a philosophy that is aligned to that of my own way of thinking in life.

"They are a great family club, built around the community they are in. At this moment in my life, it is where I want to play football, it is where I want to be right now. I still believe I have two or three years of playing football at a very good level. I have always kept myself in very good shape and I live a healthy lifestyle, so the fitness side of the game will not be an issue to me."

Sagna, who won 65 caps for France, also hopes that playing for his new club will reignite his chances of playing for Les Bleus at the 2018 World Cup.

"I still believe I can make the World Cup Finals this summer and play again for France," he added. "I have always been proud to play for my country and the burning ambition to continue to do that has never left me. I will give it my best shot to be in Russia.

"My move may surprise many but I am 100 percent sure, that I am joining the right club, for the right reasons."

Benevento are bottom of Serie A, having collected just seven points from their first 22 games and Sagna's deal includes an option for a further year.

A statement on the club's website on Saturday read: "This morning, at the Caravaggio Sporting Village in Naples, an agreement was reached between Benevento Calcio and footballer Bacary Sagna.

"In the presence of president Oreste Vigorito, the French defender of Senegalese origins signed a contract that binds him to the Giallorossi club until June 30. The deal includes the option for the extension until June 30, 2019. Bacary Sagna will be available to coach Roberto De Zerbi from next week.''