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Metzelder to make mark in Spain

Christoph Metzelder has pledged to strengthen Real Madrid CF after completing his free transfer to the Spanish champions from BV Borussia Dortmund.

Christoph Metzelder has pledged to strengthen Real Madrid CF after completing his free transfer from BV Borussia Dortmund to the Spanish champions.

New start
The Germany defender had spent the last seven seasons at the Westfalenstadion after joining from lower league SC Preussen Münster and was eager to take a different direction. After refusing a new Dortmund deal in March, it was not long before Madrid's interest became known and he has now signed a long-term contract. Metzelder, who missed the entire 2003/04 campaign with a serious knee injury, told the club's official website: "I’m really looking forward to joining up with the rest of the Madrid team. I’d love to get started playing here right now."

High hopes
Arriving at the Santiago Bernabéu represents a huge challenge for the imposing Metzelder, who made 126 league appearances for Dortmund and won a Bundesliga title in 2001/02. He is eager to add his considerable presence to an attack-minded Madrid side keen to add defensive steel alongside the already formidable Sergio Ramos and Fabio Cannavaro. "I hope my presence here will help to strengthen the team and, step by step, I’ll do my best to adapt," he said.

Big names
The 26-year-old admitted that, although he had not yet met any of the Madrid squad, he was well aware of their huge reputations. "I don't know any of the players here personally but they are all well-known in Europe, above all, those who play for their national teams. I admire players like Iker Casillas, Fabio Cannavaro and Ruud van Nistelrooy." Metzelder, with 32 caps, was part of the Germany team that finished third at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

More titles
Madrid will enter the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League in September as Spain's top team having pipped FC Barcelona to the domestic title. Metzelder was aware there would be immense pressure to deliver more trophies this season, especially as the club have lost experienced names like Roberto Carlos and David Beckham as well as parting with coach Fabio Capello in favour of Bernd Schuster, the 47-year-old who has left Getafe CF. "It's going to be a big challenge here because we will begin the season as champions," he said. "I hope this year the titles will continue to come.”