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Metzelder makes Schalke move

Defender Christoph Metzelder will return to his native Germany in the summer after agreeing a three-year contract at FC Schalke 04 following an ill-starred spell in Spain with Real Madrid CF.

Persistent injuries hampered Christoph Metzelder's progress at Real Madrid
Persistent injuries hampered Christoph Metzelder's progress at Real Madrid ©Getty Images

Former Germany defender Christoph Metzelder will leave Real Madrid CF in the summer after signing a three-year contract with FC Schalke 04, who are currently second in the Bundesliga.

The 29-year-old established an excellent reputation with BV Borussia Dortmund, winning the 2001/02 German title, but following his move to Madrid in 2007, his career was blighted by injuries, to the degree that he has played only 23 games for the Santiago Bernabéu side.

Having played at the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, he won the last of his 47 caps for Germany in their UEFA EURO 2008 final defeat against Spain. "I am really glad this transfer has come through," Schalke coach Felix Magath said. "Christoph is a leader with a high sense of responsibility. He is a former and future international."

Metzelder is not entirely unfamiliar with Schalke, having played for the club at under-16 level in the 1995/96 season before moving on to SC Preussen Münster. The Gelsenkirchen side are level on points with league leaders FC Bayern München as they chase their first title since 1958, and their maiden championship since the advent of the Bundesliga. Schalke cannot finish lower than second and are thus sure of a 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage place.