West Ham have completed their first signing of the summer after agreeing a two-year deal with Roberto.
The experienced Spanish goalkeeper will join the Hammers on July 1, after his contract with the La Liga club expires and the east London outfit have the option to extend the deal for a further 12 months.
Roberto, who has played more than 300 senior matches in Spain, Portugal and Greece, winning six trophies and appearing in the UEFA Champions League, is looking forward to a new challenge with the Hammers.
“From the beginning when I knew I was going to come here, I was very excited about the new experience,” said the stopper to whufc.com, whose full name is Roberto Jimenez Gago. “I consider this step a big step in my career. I think everyone who follows football knows the importance of this Club, so I’m really excited.
“I am looking forward to playing in the Premier League, of course. It’s a big challenge as I consider this to be one of the two best and biggest leagues in the world, with our league in Spain, and I think it’s a dream for every player to come here and play in the Premier League, so I’m looking forward to getting started.”
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West Ham Director of Football Mario Husillos is familiar with Roberto’s work and believes the club have signed a top goalkeeper.
“I worked with Roberto during my time at Malaga,” he confirmed. “He is a fantastic goalkeeper, who has a great deal of experience in football, having played at the highest level.
“During his time at Olympiakos, I spoke regularly with the coaches and many of them spoke about Roberto as one of the biggest goalkeepers in the history of the club.
“He is at a brilliant age for a goalkeeper, and we are extremely happy to bring him to West Ham United. He is a brilliant professional and a brilliant person. He has all the qualities to play in the Premier League and be very successful.”
Born in Madrid, Roberto began his career with Atletico in the Spanish capital, playing regularly for the B side as a teenager before making his first-team debut at 19 in a La Liga fixture at Osasuna in December 2005.
After spending a season on loan at Segunda Division club Gimnastic de Tarragona in 2007/08, and a year at Recreativo de Huelva, he returned to Atletico in 2009, making his UEFA Champions League debut at FC Porto that September.
The 2010/11 season proved to be a breakthrough campaign as Roberto served as No1 for Portuguese giants Benfica, winning the League Cup and reaching the UEFA Europa League semi-finals as part of a team that also included David Luiz, Pablo Aimar and Oscar Cardozo.
The next two years were spent back in Spain’s top flight with Zaragoza, before he moved abroad again in summer 2013, joining Greek side Olympiacos.
In three seasons in Athens, Roberto won three Superleague titles and one Greek Cup, while also appearing regularly in European competition alongside his future West Ham teammate Arthur Masuaku.
A return to Spain saw him join Espanyol in June 2016, before spending the 2017/18 season as first-choice on loan at Malaga.