Rugged centre-back Raul Albiol is a tenacious and committed individual, both on and off the pitch. Indeed, perhaps his biggest achievement in his career to date was his courageous recovery from a serious car accident which took place as he travelled to Madrid to sign a loan contract with Getafe in 2004 - fresh from winning that year's UEFA European U-19 Championship with Spain.
Having battled back to fitness, Albiol made 17 La Liga and two Copa del Rey appearances for Getafe in the 2004/05 season and earned a place in the Spain squad for the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup in the Netherlands. He subsequently returned to Los Chés, where he came through the youth ranks and appeared in their successful 2003/04 UEFA Cup campaign, and added the 2007/08 Copa del Rey to his medal collection.
It was at the Mestalla where Albiol continued to refine his trade alongside two of the best in the business, Argentinian legend Roberto Ayala and fellow Spanish international Carlos Marchena. The defender’s talent was such that it caught the attention of the decision makers at Real Madrid, and Los Merengues signed him up to stiffen their rearguard for their ambitious 2009/10 campaign.
Powerful in the air and good on the ground, Albiol's combination of physical strength and positioning make him a forward's nightmare.
His first encounter with the senior national team came in a UEFA EURO 2008 qualifier against Denmark in October 2007. Albiol was also part of the triumphant La Roja squad at the finals in Austria and Switzerland, his first appearance at a major international tournament.