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Anyone buying a new Real Madrid shirt with Albiol on the back might need another one next summer...

Raul Albiol has explained his delight at signing for Real Madrid and revealed that he will only keep the number 18 shirt for one season until Ruben de la Red can play again.

The defender was presented as a new player at the Bernabeu on Thursday evening and was paraded in his new colours in front of thousands of supporters.

Wearing 18 on his back caused a surprise as De la Red's number had been used so quickly after he was told he could not play next season while his heart tests continue, but Albiol explained why he had chosen it.

"Ruben is a very good friend of mine. We've coincided on the national team and its youth categories. I feel honoured to wear his shirt number," he told the club's official website.

"I'm sure he will recover, and when he does, I will be delighted to give it back to him because it truly belongs to him. I will defend his shirt as best as I can this year."

Joining Madrid is a dream come true for a player that admits that he found it difficult to leave Valencia as they are his hometown club and the side where he rose through the ranks.

"I've had several dreams throughout my career. I think every child who wants to become a player dreams about playing for the greatest clubs, and Real Madrid is one of them. I also dreamt of playing for Valencia and I am grateful because I also saw that dream come true," he continued.

"As a Valencia native it was hard to leave that club, but I knew what I wanted if I ever had to leave. I am very grateful for Real Madrid's interest in me and I now have to pay them back."

Lucas Brown, Goal.com

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