Gravesen's agent, former Denmark defender John Sivebæk, had settled personal terms with Madrid on Tuesday. However, Madrid then had to negotiate with Everton, who would have preferred to retain the player's services until the summer, and the deal was finally concluded today. Having not played in European competition with Everton, Gravesen will be eligible for Madrid's UEFA Champions League campaign.
Gravesen, who was unveiled at the Santiago Bernabéu this evening, will wear the No16 shirt, the same number he wore at Everton and, according to club president Florentino Pérez, "he is the player that we were missing". In other words, the missing link in the Merengues' midfield. Since Claude Makelele's departure in summer 2003, Madrid have tried Guti and Albert Celades as their midfield pivot but with limited success, and have arguably never replaced Fernando Redondo in that position.
Ironically, Gravesen produced his finest form in an Everton shirt this season after receiving licence to shed his defensive duties and roam forward as the attacking prong in a three-man central midfield. In 21 Premiership appearances this term Gravesen scored four goals and provided six assists.
Gravesen started his career with his hometown club in Denmark, Vejle BK, before moving to Hamburger SV in Germany and then arriving at Everton in a €3.6m transfer in summer 2000. He has featured for Denmark in three major tournament finals - at UEFA EURO 2000™, the 2002 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2004™ - and has made 52 appearances for his country, scoring five goals.
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