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Vallejo given Pepe's number on return to Real Madrid

5:39 PM IST 07/07/17
Jesus Vallejo Eintracht Frankfurt 17122016
The 20-year-old centre-back has big shoes to fill after being handed the number of the three-time Champions League winning defender

Defender Jesus Vallejo has rejoined Real Madrid for the 2017-18 La Liga season and has been given the number three jersey previously worn by Pepe.

Portugal international Pepe left Santiago Bernabeu after helping Zinedine Zidane's side win the Champions League and La Liga, moving to Turkish club Besiktas. The 34-year-old spent 10 seasons at Madrid, playing over 300 games in all competitions.

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Vallejo has been handed Pepe's vacant shirt number on his return to the club, having spent 2015-16 on loan at Real Zaragoza and 2016-17 at Eintracht Frankfurt. He was bought from Zaragoza in July 2015 for a fee of €6 million, but has yet to play for Los Blancos.

He impressed last season in the Bundesliga with Frankfurt, playing 25 times in the league as they finished 11th in the table and reached the DFB Pokal final. Vallejo's impressive performances at the back helped the club improve from the previous campaign where they narrowly avoided relegation from the top flight.

The centre-back's new number at Madrid was unveiled at a presentation with club president Florentino Perez at Santiago Bernabeu, who told the 20-year-old: "This stadium is now your home."

Vallejo is looking forward to finally donning the colours of the club, and is eager to impress his employers and their millions of fans in Spain and around the world. 

"Thank you very much to the president and the club, who have shown great confidence in me when they signed me two years ago," Vallejo said

"Since then I have wanted to repay that trust. I still have a long way to go. With humility, work, effort and sacrifice I hope to be here for many years, because this is the best club in the world.

"I am very happy to take the responsibility [of playing for Madrid]. I will give everything for this badge and this shirt. Hala Madrid."