CARSON, Calif. -- Ashley Cole insists he didn't sign with the LA Galaxy because of the MLS club's proximity to the beach.
The former Arsenal, Chelsea and England left-back drew the ire of many in American soccer when he said upon joining Italy's Roma in July 2014 that he had turned down MLS offers because wasn't "ready to relax on a beach yet."
On Friday, Cole said the quote, while accurate, was taken out of context.
"I'm not going to come here and try to defend myself," Cole said after being introduced by his new team. "It was said. It was for sure taken out of content because I was talking to the reporter before, and he kind of said it to me, 'We're glad to have you at Roma, we didn't expect you to be here, we thought you'd go relax on the beach.'
"In the interview, I've said it, yes. It's come out my mouth," the 35-year-old added. "But of course you have to understand that I was at a new team and I have to kind of tell the fans that at Roma I was here to fight, I was there to influence and play in the Champions League in Europe.
"Of course, I hold my hands up. It was said. I have to deal with it. I hope I can kind of change the views of me coming here.
Cole played for England at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups. He also represented his country at the 2004 and 2012 European Championships. But he made just 11 Serie A appearances during his 18 months in Italy. His contract, which had one year left to run, was terminated by mutual consent last month, however a large portion of his Galaxy salary will be paid Roma, a source told ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle last month.
Cole said he is under no illusions that the transition to MLS will be hard. He said he sought the counsel of former England teammates Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, the latter of whom moved to the Galaxy last year, as well as Galaxy captain Robbie Keane before making the move.
Gerrard and Lampard, who signed with New York City FC last summer, both struggled after arriving in mid-2015.
"I've spoken to them on many occasions [about] how difficult it is. I spoke to the manager how difficult it is with the traveling, the demands of the game over here. I know its going to be hard for me for sure," Cole said.
"But I'm happy to be here. I'm going to work as hard as I can, change a few views of me being here, and we'll see.
"Of course I'm a winner. I always want to win. I don't come here to sit on the beach, to rest. I'm here to play football and work hard. I'm not a diva, I'm not an egotistical guy that comes and thinks he's bigger than anyone. I'll come here and work as hard as I can."