BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) -- David Trezeguet realized his dream when he joined a group of top flight players on Wednesday who have flocked to the cause of restoring relegated River Plate to the Argentine first division.
Trezeguet, who attended his first practice at the Monumental, is realizing a dream by playing for the club he has supported since his boyhood in Buenos Aires before embarking on a successful career as a striker with Monaco, Juventus and France.
He said his passion for River and Argentine football was at the heart of his decision to join Fernando Cavenaghi and Alejandro Dominguez, who both cut short their careers abroad to return to help the club of their youth recover their top flight status.
"It was the ideal moment for me to return (to Argentina)," said the 34-year-old who left Buenos Aires at 17 to seek his fortune in France, where he was born to an Argentine footballer father in 1977.
"River are going through a very difficult time... I want to be part of the history (of their recovery)," he told a news conference, adding that he had signed a three-year contract.
"For me football is passion and I wasn't getting that in Arabian football... What better place to experience that than here?" said Trezeguet, who terminated his contract with al-Baniyas of the United Arab Emirates to join River as a free agent.
"The South American (football) mentality is very different to the European," added Trezeguet, who said that to join River Plate ranked with winning the World Cup and European championship with France and league titles with Monaco and Juventus.
"What I can experience here can be even better than all that," he said. "Being here is a unique feeling, motivated by everything that River represents."
Trezeguet said he equated the River's situation with that of Juventus who were relegated for match-fixing in 2006 and bounced right back despite starting their Serie B season with a 17- point deduction -- later amended to a nine point deficit -- as part of their punishment.
"At Juventus we showed it could be done with young players who are now in the (Italian) national team," said Trezeguet, who spent 10 years at Juventus.
He said the majority of young players in River's squad would do well to realise they were in a unique position playing for such a big club in the way that his young team mates had done at Juventus.
"Our shirt represents a history and the Juventus youngsters understood that (of theirs)," he said.
River's signing of Trezeguet has put moves involving first division sides in the mid-season summer recess in the shade.
With each club permitted two signings, they are on the verge of a second with midfielder Leonardo Ponzio, who has rescinded his contract with Real Zaragoza in order to return to River in time for the second half of the Nacional B championship starting on Feb. 4.