Real Madrid have recalled young defender Jesus Vallejo from Eintracht Frankfurt as the direct replacement for Pepe in the first team.
The Spain youth international impressed in the Bundesliga under Frankfurt manager Niko Kovac, featuring 25 times in the league as they finished in 11th.
With Kovac entrusting Vallejo with a key role, he was said to be keen to retain the 20-year-old for next season – after describing his performances last season as ‘scandalously good’.
Nonetheless, Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane has continued his trend of allowing young Spanish talent to earn their chance in the first team – as he effectively did with Marco Asensio and Casemiro.
Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic lamented the loss of the youngster, but understood his quality displays would always attract the attention of his parent club.
“Of course, we have mixed feelings about this news. Jesus enjoyed an outstanding season and helped us a lot,” Bobic told reporters.
“We would have loved to have seen him in Frankfurt for another year, but we are very proud that we were able to develop him so well that he is now permanently in Real’s plans. On behalf of the whole club, I wish him all the best.”
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