February 2, 2015 / 12:26 PM / 3 years ago

Hamburg sign Chile midfielder Diaz

BERLIN (Reuters) - Troubled Hamburg SV have signed Chilean defensive midfielder Marcelo Diaz from Swiss side Basel to bolster their backline as they battle to avoid relegation from the Bundesliga.

Anicet Abel challenges Marcelo Diaz (R) during their Champions League Group B soccer match at St. Jakob Park stadium in Basel November 4, 2014. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Chile international Diaz signed a contract to 2017 after passing a medical in Hamburg on Monday, the club said.

”We saw Marcelo’s qualities at the World Cup last summer,“ Hamburg sporting director Peter Knaebel said. ”He is someone who wants the ball, wants the game focussed on him even in difficult situations.

“He can be a bridge (from defence to attack) for our game when we go forward. That is what I expect from him and that is what he has already done at top level.”

Hamburg, who have seen billionaire Klaus-Michael Kuehne pump more than 18 million euros (14 million pounds) into the debt-laden club, have also boosted their frontline by bringing in experienced Croatian striker Ivica Olic from VfL Wolfsburg.

Hamburg are in the relegation playoff spot in 16th place on 17 points.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond

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