Real Madrid sign Raul Albiol

Real Madrid have officially confirmed the acquisition of Valencia central defender Raul Albiol on a five-year contract.

The 23-year-old, who has been on international duty with Spain at the Confederations Cup, will be presented to the media when he returns from South Africa next week.

Having already spent £140 million on Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo, new coach Manuel Pellegrini has moved to bolster a defence that conceded eight goals against Barcelona and five against Liverpool last season. Albiol, a long-term target for Rafa Benitez's Liverpool, is expected to cost €15million and will fill the void left by Juventus-bound centre-back Fabio Cannavaro.

The defender, who suffered a serious car crash in 2004 which left him without a spleen, is likely to partner Portuguese international Pepe in central defence.

He made his Valencia debut in 2003 and first played for Spain in a 3-1 win over Denmark in 2007.

The announcement may come as a surprise to Albiol following his comments after Spain's shock defeat to USA on Wednesday night.

"The truth is that I did not know anything because we had a game," he said.

"Let's see if I hear something on Thursday."

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