FC Barcelona have signed Real Valladolid defender Mario Alvarez on a one-year loan with an option to make the deal permanent at the end of the season.
A Spanish Under-21 international, Mario began his career in the reserves at Club Atlético de Madrid, before joining Valladolid two seasons ago. He had become a regular fixture in the centre of that club's defence.
Cover the gaps
The 21-year-old's arrival will help cover the gaps left by the recent departures of defenders Frank de Boer and Philippe Christanval. Barcelona are currently in Northern Ireland, where they are preparing for Tuesday's pre-season friendly against Derry City FC ahead of the new Primera División season and their UEFA Cup campaign.
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