Cole signs two-year Roma deal

  • Last Updated: July 7 2014, 23:19 BST

Former England defender Ashley Cole has signed for Italian side Roma.

Ashley Cole: Joining Serie A club Roma
Ashley Cole: Joining Serie A club Roma

The 33-year-old left-back, released by Chelsea this summer, has agreed a two-year deal with the option of a third., the club confirmed in a statement.

Cole later tweeted: "Will never forget my time in England was a pleasure, but now onto a new challenge."

Cole, who announced his international retirement after being overlooked by Roy Hodgson for England’s ill-fated World Cup campaign, became a free agent along with Frank Lampard at the end of the season, after Chelsea opted not to renew their contracts.

Cole's agent was involved in discussions with only foreign clubs, with Roma and sides in the MLS showing the strongest interest. 

Cole signed for Chelsea in a controversial move from rivals Arsenal in 2006 for £5million and went on to make over 300 appearances for the club.

He won the Premier League under Carlo Ancelotti in 2010, before clinching the 2012 Champions League under Roberto Di Matteo, as well as the 2013 Europa League with Rafa Benitez. He also has five FA Cup winners' medals.

Cole was a bit-part player last season, however, following Jose Mourinho's return to Stamford Bridge and he was deemed surplus to requirements by both his club and country at the end of the campaign.

With Roma in the Champions League this coming season, Cole could make a quick return to Stamford Bridge. The group-stage draw will be made next month.

He earned 107 England caps but announced his retirement from international football ahead of the World Cup after he was left out of Roy Hodgson's squad for the finals in Brazil.

At Roma his mission will be to boost the fortunes of a side that improved from sixth to second place in Serie A following Rudi Garcia's appointment as coach last summer.

The Giallorossi led the table in the early part of the 2013-14 campaign after winning 10 consecutive games but results dropped off, allowing Juventus to overhaul them and clinch a third straight title.

Cole was the second new arrival at Trigoria on Monday, with Fenerbahce midfielder Salih Ucan joining on a one-year loan.

Roma will pay the Turkish club 4.75million euros (£3.8million) to have the player next season and can extend the loan for a second campaign at no further cost.

They will then have the option to purchase the player in the summer of 2016 for an additional 11million euros (£8.75million).