7 August 2012 01:48
Real Madrid defender Raul Albiol has ended speculation regarding his future by penning a two-year contract extension with the club.
Albiol is now contract to the Santiago Bernabeu club until the end of the 2016/17 season.
Spanish international Albiol had two years remaining on his contract with the Liga champions, but after a frustrating season in which he only made a handful of league appearances, the defender had been linked with a move away from the club.
Albiol has made 63 appearances for Real during his three seasons in the Spanish capital and won his first domestic title under Jose Mourinho last season.
The 26-year-old moved from Valencia for a fee in the region of 15 million euros in June 2009 and became a regular at the heart of the Real defence, largely due to the absence of Pepe in 2009/10.
But he made just 10 appearances in the league last season, as he played back-up to the regular centre-back pairing of Ricardo Carvalho and Pepe.
But with Carvalho linked with a move away from the Bernabeu, and with Sergio Ramos tipped to return to right-back, he could find himself back in contention for a first-team berth.
There had been rumours linking Albiol with clubs around Europe, including Liverpool, but he has ended any speculation about his future by extending his contract with the nine-time European Cup winners.