MADRID - Young right back Daniel Carvajal was presented to Real Madrid's supporters on Friday, completing his return to his boyhood club.
Madrid exercised a buyback option to recover Carvajal after his breakout season with German club Bayer Leverkusen.
"Back in 2002 I put on a Real Madrid shirt for the first time and started to fight for a dream that today I have fulfilled," Carvajal told a few hundred Madrid fans who had turned out to welcome him home. "Thanks to the club president and the fans for all the support they have shown me. I want to thank them for the trust they placed in me during the 10 years I was here and the year I was away, although I didn't break ties with the club."
The 21-year-old Carvajal signed a six-year contract with Madrid. He joins attacking midfielder Francisco "Isco" Alarcon as Madrid's signings this off-season after both helped Spain win the under-21 European title.
In his season with Leverkusen, he scored one goal and made seven assists to help the team finish third in the Bundesliga and qualify for the Champions League. Madrid paid Leverkusen €6.5 million to bring Carvajal back after having received €5 million for him in 2012.
Carvajal gives Madrid's new coach, Carlo Ancelotti, a reliable backup to veteran Alvaro Arbeloa, or perhaps even his replacement. Former coach Jose Mourinho often had to rely on midfielder Michael Essien to fill in for Arbeloa last season.
Madrid has been criticized in recent years for not giving its own youth products a chance to make its first squad.
Madrid president Florentino Perez said that Carvajal will serve as an example for all of Madrid's youth players, showing them that it is indeed possible to earn a place on its first team packed with stars like Cristiano Ronaldo.
"This club believes in its youth program, but it is very tough to reach the first team," Perez said, adding directly to Carvajal: "You know perfectly well the high demands this club makes of its players. Your moment has arrived, and I know that you will make this most of it."