Zenit signs defender Garay for $8.1 million

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MOSCOW (AP) - Zenit St. Petersburg says it has signed Argentina center back Ezequiel Garay from Portugal’s Benfica as it prepares for the upcoming Russian league season.

The 27-year-old Garay, who is representing Argentina at the World Cup, has agreed a five-year contract starting July 1, Zenit said.

The defender, who had been linked with Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, moves for a fee of 6 million euros ($8.18 million), according to Benfica in a Portuguese Securities Market Commission filing.

Garay, who signed for Benfica from Real Madrid in 2011, won the Portuguese title last season and has played in two Europa League finals.

Last year, Zenit finished second to CSKA Moscow in the Russian league for the second year in succession after former Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas replaced Luciano Spalletti mid-season.

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