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Metzelder signs contract with Real Madrid

A three-year contract with Real Madrid was signed by Christoph Metzelder on Wednesday.

"It's a great honor to be at Madrid, a big club," Metzelder said. "At 26, I'm ready to be part of a great club."

Metzelder is the second central defender to move to Madrid. The team signed FC Porto defender Pepe on Tuesday to a five-year contract.

"I'm happy to be part of a club that does all it can to get the best players possible," Metzelder said. "For my work, (the amount paid) has no importance, I've come to this place to play."

The 26-year-old Metzelder arrived in Madrid for free after being out of contract with Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season.

He will have to compete for a starting place in a crowded central backfield that also includes world player of the yearFabio Canavarro.

"(Fabio) is one of the best players in the world and he brings his own strengths to Real Madrid," Metzelder said. "There are a lot of great individual players here. They are all big names and I'm sure we'll have no problems making up a strong defense."

He added that playing under German coach Bernd Schuster could provide "an advantage" - at least in terms of language.

On Monday, Madrid hired Schuster to take over as coach for Fabio Capello, who led Madrid to its first league title in four seasons. Schuster is the club's eighth coach since 2003.

"I think all of the players and coaches also in this club at this level are striving for the same thing - for success," Metzelder said. "What motivates me day-to-day is to play here and that doesn't worry me."

Metzelder, who has played in two World Cups, won one Bundesliga title in seven seasons at Dortmund and has made 32 appearances for Germany.

Madrid also said that the 24-year-old Pepe passed his medical Wednesday.

The club is also reportedly close to signing FC Barcelona striker Javier Saviola.

Spanish daily AS reported that the Argentina striker had signed a five-year contract to play at the Bernabeu.

"Saviola will help us a lot. He's young and he still scores goals," Schuster said.

Russia's Ministry for Foreign Affairs is seriously concerned about the state of health of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Sergei Skrypal's niece, Victoria Skripal, said that her uncle had already died.

UK wants Sergei Skripal dead

The Basmanny Court of Moscow arrested Michael Calvey, the founder of Baring Vostok investment fund, on allegations of embezzling 2.5 billion rubles from Vostochny Bank. Calvey will be held in custody until April 13

Putin informed about arrest of US investor Michael Calvey
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