Italian champions Juventus have announced the signing of Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira for 20 million euros (£14m).

French international midfielder Vieira has signed a five-year deal with the Turin club. He said the decision to leave Arsenal was a difficult one, but he wanted a new challenge.

“When you spend nine years at the Club, like I did, it is a difficult decision to leave. But in the end you have to make a choice for your future. It was a very difficult decision, but I am happy with it,” Vieira said.

“I made the decision to leave because I felt it was time for me to have a new challenge. But that does not mean I was unhappy or that I was having a problem at Arsenal.

“It was just that I had the feeling I needed to grow and meet a new challenge, and I feel Juventus was the best challenge for me.

“I‘d like to thank the Arsenal fans. They have been fabulous. Even recently in the street they were saying ‘if you are going, then thanks for the last nine years’. That is really touching and it makes me feel that I gave my best for the Club.

“I can go with my head held high. I did my best every day in training and in every match, and I left shaking the hand of Arsène Wenger and Mr Dein. That was really important to me.”