Asier Illarramendi has been presented today as a Real Madrid player and reflected on the ‘unique opportunity’ and challenge that awaits him.
The 23-year-old’s contract at Real Sociedad was bought out for €39m yesterday by Los Merengues and, after completing a medical and signing a six-year deal today, he was presented to the media.
“This is a special day for me, it is a huge accomplishment to play at this club,” began Illarramendi to reporters in the capital.
“Until a few days ago I did not know that this was possible. It is a unique opportunity and this is a big club.
“I will give everything for Madrid. The decision for me was not easy. I arrived at La Real as a child and appreciate all the love and support that the club and its people have given me.
“But to be a part of this great club is an opportunity. I will give everything for this badge and hope that the season is full of success. I thank my family and friends and hope to continue to expand the history of this club.”
The Under-21 international took questions from the media, including the expectation that he will act as Xabi Alonso’s long-term successor.
“It is clear that Xabi Alonso is a great player, he came through the youth team at La Real and has always been a reference point. I hope to learn a lot from playing with him.
“He already told me that this was impressive and I am seeing that it is all true. I have the opportunity to now play with him.
“He is a great player as is everyone that I will play with. Xabi recommended that I come, he told me it was incredible and so it is proving.”
Illarramendi, who will wear the No 24 shirt, has also spoken with Carlo Ancelotti already.
“I had the opportunity to talk with Ancelotti. He called me and congratulated me and I am grateful. Now I will have to fight to earn a place in the team.
“It will not be easy, but I will try everything, we shall see what happens. Zidane did not call me, but I spoke with the President and it is true that he was interested in me.
“Then I spoke to more people, they have shown an incredible interest. I have to be grateful.”