The Austrian, accompanied by his parents, wife and son, was visibly enthused to have completed his move from Bayern Munich, and looked to the future with optimism.
“I’ve not come to Madrid to compare myself to others,” Alaba said when asked about the inevitable comparisons with Sergio Ramos.
Ramos left Madrid this summer – after 16 years of service and 22 titles – for Paris Saint-Germain, and leaves big shoes to fill.
“I want to be Alaba. I will contribute my abilities and my strengths, I’ll be myself.” Alaba took the number four shirt, Ramos’ previously. “I spoke to the club about this,” he said.
“They offered me this number and I think there was no other number available, and I know what this number means to the club. It’s an honour to wear it and it’s something that motivates me a lot. It’s a number that represents strength and leadership.
“[Coming to Madrid] is a dream come true, it’s the biggest club in the world and it fills me with pride to be here. I’m looking forward to wearing the shirt.”
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) July 21, 2021
Born in Vienna to a Nigerian father and a mother from the Philippines, Alaba came through the youth system at Bayern after being poached from Rapid Vienna at 16.
Aside from a brief spell on loan with Hoffenheim, it’s been the club he’s spent his entire professional career.
Alaba has won ten Bundesliga titles in Germany, as well as six German Cups, three German Super Cups, two Champions Leagues, two European Super Cups and two Club World Cups.
Madrid will hope his arrival can serve as an injection of enthusiasm after the club finished last season trophy-less, knocked out of the Champions League by Chelsea and losing La Liga to their local rivals, Atletico Madrid.