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Raúl Albiol Tortajada (born 4 September 1985 in Vilamarxantmarker, Spainmarker) is a Spanish footballer who currently plays for Real Madrid in La Liga. He also plays for the Spanish national team.

Albiol's main asset is his versatility, as he can play as either a central defender, a defensive midfielder or at right back.

Club career

Albiol's father Miguel was a famous player for modest Benidorm CD. Whilst his father still had contacts at Benidorm, the son joined the side's under-9 and in a friendly match against Valencia CF he played impressively, signing on trial with the Spanish first division side. He made his first team debut on September 24, 2003, in a UEFA Cup first-round contest against AIK Stockholm, but spent the first year still registered with the B side.

In August 2004, whilst on route to sign a deal to join Getafe CF on loan, Albiol was involved in a serious car accident and ended up in intensive care. He managed to recover completely and, after reappering in January, played a very important part in the Madridmarker side's successful campaign against top flight relegation; making his first division debut on January 15, 2005, in a 1–1 home draw with Atlético de Madrid, he scored against another side from the capital, Real Madrid, in a 2–1 home triumph, two months later.

Albiol then returned the following season to Valencia, and quickly established himself as first-choice, whether as a central defender or a holding midfielder. In the opening game of the 2006–07's league campaign, he scored the winner (his only goal of the season) against Real Betis, as the game finished 2–1. He also netted a screamer against Olympiacos FC of Greecemarker on September 12, 2006, in the UEFA Champions League, which Valencia won 4–2 away.

Real Madrid

On 25 June 2009, Albiol joined Real Madrid CF, on a fee thought to be in the region of 15 million, becoming the first Spanish player signed by Florentino Pérez upon his return to presidency. On July 2, he was officially presented at Santiago Bernabéu Stadiummarker, receiving the #18 jersey from Rubén de la Red, out for the season with unresolved heart problems.

International career

After having represented the under-21s, Albiol first appeared for the main squad on 13 October 2007, in an Euro 2008 qualifier against Denmark (3–1 away win).

In the competition's final stages, he appeared twice for the eventual continental champions, against Sweden (subbing in for the injured Carles Puyol) and Greece.

New national team coach Vicente Del Bosque included Albiol in the squad for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa. He started in Spain's first game, partnering Puyol in central defence ahead of then Valencia teammate Carlos Marchena, helping defeat New Zealand 5-0.

Personal life

  • Albiol's older brother, Miguel, is also a professional footballer. Both were groomed at local giants Valencia.
  • He has a daughter, born on 16 March 2009, named Azahara.


Honours

Valencia CF



Spain



Spain U19



References

  1. Albiol reaparece tras su accidente (Albiol reappears after accident); El Mundo, 12 January 2005
  2. Olympiacos undone by magic Morientes; UEFA.com, 12 September 2006
  3. Madrid sign Raul Albiol and step up Karim Benzema chase; The Daily Telegraph, 25 June 2009


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