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Ex-England left back Ashley Cole makes Roma move

Former Arsenal, Chelsea and England left back Ashley Cole has been snapped up by Serie A side Roma, 50/1 to win the Champions League, on a free transfer after flying out to the Eternal City.

Cole, 33, joins the Italian capital club after agreeing a two-year deal following his release from Stamford Bridge. In eight years with the Blues, He had a trophy-laden spell, winning eight major honours including the Premier League and Champions League.

At Arsenal, Cole won two top flight-titles and the first three of his seven FA Cup medals. He joins another Gunners old boy Gervinho in Rome.

Going to five major tournaments with his country, Cole played in three successive quarter-final appearances (2002 World Cup, Euro 2004 and 2006 World Cup). England boss Roy Hodgson opted to leave him out of the squad for the World Cup in Brazil, however, and he duly retired from international football after earning 107 caps.

Cole, who becomes the first Briton to sign for Roma since Wales great John Charles, will compete with uncapped Brazilian Dodo and ex-Italy international Federico Balzaretti for a starting spot at the Stadio Olimpico. He also becomes Rudi Garcia’s second high-profile summer signing, following the arrival of former Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita.

One-time Crystal Palace loanee Cole has made 580 club appearances in English football, but could now play out his days in Italy. He follows in the footsteps of Ray Wilkins, David Platt, Paul Ince and contemporary David Beckham as Englishmen that have plied their trade in Serie A.

Roma finished as runners-up, ahead of Napoli, last season as Juventus sealed a third straight Scudetto, but their consolation prize is an automatic place in the group stage of the Europe’s elite club competition. Cole has turned out 60 times in the Champions League, so will add essential experience alongside fellow elder statesmen and club icons Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi.