It's official. David Alaba is a new Real Madrid player. The Austrian terminated his contract with Bayern Munich, where he had been hugely successful having won two Champions League trophies and 10 league titles among other silverware.
Alaba had said in February that he would leave Bayern when his contract expires at the end of the season after 13 years with the German club, after talks over a new contract had broken down in November 2020, reportedly over the player's salary.
In other circumstances, the player could have left for an exorbitant fee. Instead, he arrives in the Spanish capital on a free transfer, with Madrid making a noise in the transfer market early on in the window. He signs for five seasons, until June 2026.
Madrid's statement read as follows: "Real Madrid C. F. has reached an agreement with David Alaba for the player to join the club for the next five seasons. David Alaba will be unveiled as a new Real Madrid player after the end of the 2021 European Championship."
His transfer was kept quiet for months. Since his arrival in Spain, media outlets around the country have joined in to report his route to the Santiago Bernabeu - and Valdebebas - for the 2021/22 season. In fact, just days before the signing was confirmed, it was reported that he was in the city to finalise the contract with his new club.
Alaba said goodbye to the Allianz Arena alongside Jerome Boateng, a fellow teammate who also wanted a change of scenery. The two finished the season with Bayern in tears, leaving a club in which they have been for most of their careers. As the two players were key to the German side's success over the years, Bayern will certainly have to look for reinforcement in these positions.
Regarding Alaba's move to Madrid, it is a signing that the Spanish side are definitely in need of. Throughout the 2020/21 campaign, Zinedine Zidane - who will not be the manager during Alaba's time at the club - was hit with injuries all over the pitch, especially in defence.
This problem shouldn't repeat itself next season, at least not to the extent it did in the campaign just gone. The Austrian forms a key piece of the RM puzzle, versatile and destined to be a starter from day one. His extensive experience on football's greatest stages are in line with the aspirations of the club - to get back to winning titles after a rare trophyless season.
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