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The 30-year-old joins his former manager at the Stadium of Light after becoming a free agent following his release from Aston Villa at the end of the previous campaign

Sunderland have secured the services of free agent and former Aston Villa defender Carlos Cuellar on a two-year deal.

The 30-year-old moves to the Stadium of Light on a free transfer after parting company with the Villans in May, in a deal confirmed by the club's official website.

It is not the first time Martin O'Neill has linked up with the centre-back, with the Black Cats boss first working with Cuellar for two years during his spell in charge at Villa Park from 2008.

"Ever since I heard the rumour that Sunderland were interested in signing me, I wanted to come here," Cuellar told the club's official website.

"To work again with the gaffer, Martin O'Neill, and with everyone talking so well about the club, I didn't have any problem and said straight away I wanted to come.

"He is so clever, he knows everyone very well and knows how to push everyone to get 100 per cent out of them.

"He gets the best from every player and brings them together to make his teams very competitive."

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The Spaniard first caught the attention at native club side Osasuna, where he helped the team reach the final of the Copa del Rey as well as a Uefa Cup semi-final and qualification for the Champions League.

The experienced defender then moved to Scotland, where he enjoyed a successful 2007-08 season with Rangers, recording a club-record 65 appearances across all competitions.

His displays with the Scottish outfit caught the attention of former Celtic manager O'Neill, who spent £7.8 million to sign Cuellar as Villa manager. He played in 123 games for the Midlands club and scored three goals before being released earlier this year.

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