Albiol in action for Napoli in 2015
|Full name||Raúl Albiol Tortajada|
|Date of birth||4 September 1985|
|Place of birth||Vilamarxant, Spain|
|Height||1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Playing position||Defender / Defensive midfielder|
|2004–2005||→ Getafe (loan)||17||(1)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23 August 2018|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 31 March 2015
Raúl Albiol Tortajada (Spanish: [raˈul alˈβjol toɾtaˈxaða], Valencian: [raˈul albiˈɔl toɾtaˈdʒaða]; born 4 September 1985) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for Italian club S.S.C. Napoli and the Spain national team.
A physically strong player who excels in the air, his main asset is his versatility, as he can play as a central defender, right back or defensive midfielder. He spent most of his career with Valencia and Real Madrid, winning five major titles with both teams combined; over the course of ten seasons he amassed La Liga totals of 229 games and seven goals. Abroad, he played several Serie A seasons for Napoli.
Born in Vilamarxant, Valencian Community, Albiol started playing football with two modest clubs in his native region, moving to local giants Valencia CF before celebrating his 10th birthday. He made his first-team debut on 24 September 2003 in a UEFA Cup first-round tie against AIK Fotboll, at 18 years and 20 days, but spent the first year still registered with the B-side.
In August 2004, whilst travelling to sign a deal to join Getafe CF on loan, Albiol was involved in a serious car accident, being put in intensive care. He managed to recover completely and, after reappearing in January, played a very important part in the Madrid side surviving the relegation battle: he made his La Liga debut on 15 January 2005 in a 1–1 home draw with Atlético Madrid, and scored against another club from the capital, Real Madrid, in a 2–1 home triumph two months later.
Albiol returned the following season to the Mestalla Stadium, and quickly established himself as first-choice due to his versatility. In the opening game of the 2006–07's league campaign he scored the winner (his only goal of the season) against Real Betis in a 2–1 home win. He also netted from long distance against Olympiacos F.C. on 12 September 2006, in that year's UEFA Champions League, which Valencia won 4–2 away; during his four-season spell with the first team, his smallest output consisted of 29 games, and he helped the Che to the 2007–08 edition of the Copa del Rey.
On 25 June 2009, Albiol joined Real Madrid for a fee thought to be in the region of €15 million, becoming the first Spanish player signed by Florentino Pérez upon his return to the presidency. On 2 July, he was officially presented at the Santiago Bernabéu, receiving the number 18 jersey from Rubén de la Red who was absent for the season due to unresolved heart problems.
Albiol scored his first goal for the Merengues on 8 December 2009, in a 3–1 Champions League win at Olympique de Marseille. He was an undisputed starter during the league campaign, mainly due to Pepe's serious knee injury.
In 2010–11, Albiol was relegated to the bench as Real Madrid brought in another player for his position, Ricardo Carvalho (a compatriot of newly appointed manager José Mourinho), only appearing in the league through injury or suspension to teammates (Pepe again missed several matches due to physical problems). He did start, however, in the club's domestic cup campaign, helping it reach the final. On 26 January 2011, in the semi-final first leg against Sevilla FC (1–0 away win), he cleared a Luís Fabiano shot just before it crossed the goal line; on 16 April, he was sent off for fouling former Valencia teammate David Villa inside the box during El Clásico, which resulted in the first goal in a 1–1 home draw, going on to miss the Spanish Cup final four days later – through suspension – a 1–0 win against the same opponent.
On 6 August 2012, Albiol renewed his contract with Real Madrid until June 2017. On 27 November, in his first game as team captain, at home against CD Alcoyano for the Spanish Cup, he had to be stretchered off after only one minute, being sidelined for approximately one month with an ankle injury.
On 21 July 2013, Albiol was sold to S.S.C. Napoli in Italy for €12 million, signing a four-year contract with the Rafael Benítez-led team. He made his Serie A debut on 25 August, in a 3–0 home win over Bologna FC 1909.
Albiol scored his first goal for his new team on 25 January 2014, an 88th-minute equaliser in a 1–1 home draw against A.C. ChievoVerona. On 3 May, he played the entire final of the Coppa Italia, helping to a 3–1 success over ACF Fiorentina.
After having represented Spain at under-21 level, Albiol first appeared for the senior squad on 13 October 2007 in an UEFA Euro 2008 qualifier against Denmark, a 3–1 away win. In the competition's final stages, he appeared twice for the eventual continental champions, against Sweden (subbing in for the injured Carles Puyol) and Greece.
New national team coach Vicente del Bosque included Albiol in the squad for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa. He started in Spain's first game, partnering Puyol in central defence ahead of Valencia teammate Carlos Marchena and helping defeat New Zealand 5–0.
Albiol was picked for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but did not leave the bench for the eventual World champions after having suffered an injury in training. Again as an unused player, he was also in the squad for the Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine, which also ended in the conquest of the trophy.
Albiol was named in Spain's 30-man provisional squad for the 2014 World Cup, and was also included in the final list for the tournament. He made his debut in a major finals in the last group match against Australia with the Spanish already eliminated, playing the whole 90 minutes alongside Sergio Ramos in central defence in a 3–0 win.
Albiol's nickname is "El Chori". His older brother, Miguel, was also a footballer. A midfielder, he was also groomed at Valencia, playing one league match with the first team, but mainly represented Rayo Vallecano. His father, also named Miguel, played lower league football mostly with Benidorm CF, and appeared in two Segunda División games for CE Sabadell FC in 1979–80; the youngest sibling, Brian, was named after Brian Laudrup, whom Raúl admired on account of his success with the Danish national team.
- As of 23 August 2018
- 1Includes other competitive competitions, including the Supercopa de España.
- As of 31 March 2015
- FIFA World Cup: 2010
- UEFA European Championship: 2008, 2012
- FIFA Confederations Cup: Runner-up 2013; Third-place 2009
- UEFA European Under-19 Championship: 2004
- "FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010: List of players" (PDF). FIFA. 4 June 2010. p. 29. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
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- "El Getafe paraliza a un Atlético inefable" [Getafe paralyse unheard-of Atlético]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 16 January 2005. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
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- "Madrid make Barca wait". ESPN FC. 8 May 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "Il Napoli ufficializza l'acquisto di Raul Albiol" [Napoli make signing of Raul Albiol official] (in Italian). S.S.C. Napoli. 21 July 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
- "Napoli-Bologna 3–0: apre Callejon, poi la doppietta di super Hamsik" [Napoli-Bologna 3–0: Callejon starts it, then double by super Hamsik]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 25 August 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
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- "España sale del túnel tras su triunfo en Dinamarca (1–3)" [Spain exit tunnel after win in Denmark (1–3)]. 20 minutos (in Spanish). 13 October 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Russia 2–0 Sweden & Greece 1–2 Spain". BBC Sport. 18 June 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "La Roja lean to the left". FIFA. 16 June 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
- "Breaking (ouch!) news: Raúl Albiol injured". World Cup Blog. 26 June 2010. Archived from the original on 24 November 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
- "World Cup 2014: Diego Costa and Fernando Torres in Spain squad". BBC Sport. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
- "World Cup 2014: Spain drop Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas". BBC Sport. 31 May 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
- Chowdhury, Saj (23 June 2014). "Australia 0–3 Spain". BBC Sport. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
- "Nos vemos con fuerza para superar al Barça" [We can see ourselves beating Barça]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 6 January 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
- "Vilamarxant se emociona con Albiol" [Vilamarxant gets emotional with Albiol]. Levante-EMV (in Spanish). 13 July 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- "Los hermanos Albiol frente a frente" [The Albiol brothers face to face]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 26 October 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- "RealAlbiol: "Mourinho nos ha dado carácter. Día a día demuestra lo gran entrenador que es"" [RealAlbiol: "Mourinho has built our character. Every day he shows the great manager he is"] (in Spanish). Real Madrid C.F. 17 November 2011. Archived from the original on 8 September 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
- "Acuerdo entre el Valencia y el Madrid por Albiol" [Agreement between Valencia and Madrid for Albiol]. El País (in Spanish). 25 June 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
- "El 'alma' valenciana de Albiol" [Albiol's Valencia 'soul' (Alma in English)]. Las Provincias (in Spanish). 9 January 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- "Albiol". Soccerway. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
- "Raúl Albiol". European Football. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- "Experts' UEFA Europa League squad of the season". UEFA. 28 May 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
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