Dudek signs for Real Madrid

July 21, 2007 - 0:0

MADRID (AFP) -- Spanish champions Real Madrid on Friday unveiled Polish international keeper Jerzy Dudek, formerly of Liverpool, as their new goalkeeper after he signed a two-year deal.

""I thought that I would never play for such a big team after leaving the Reds and that I would never play with such great players again,"" he told a news conference after being presented as a Real player. ""But when my contract finished and I heard Real Madrid were interested in signing me I was very surprised,"" added the 34-year-old, who will reportedly earn 1.5 million euros (2 million dollars) a year. ""I couldn't refuse joining Real Madrid. I was very happy with the fact that people here wanted me,"" he said. Dudek, who has more than 50 caps for Poland, will be the backup to Iker Casillas, who is the Spanish national team's keeper. ""I know this is a difficult situation for me having to compete with such a good goalkeeper as Iker Casillas, but everyone has their own ambitions. I'll just try to help the team at first by always giving 100 percent,"" he said. ""This situation is normal on great teams like Liverpool and Real Madrid. Teams like these need two very good goalkeepers,"" he added. He becomes Real's fourth signing this summer after German defender Christoph Metzelder (Borussia Dortmund), Brazilian defender Pepe (FC Porto) and Argentine striker Javier Saviola, who is out of contract with Barcelona. Dudek spent six years with Liverpool after joining them from Feyenoord in 2001. He was currently without a contract. He was the hero of Liverpool's Champions League final victory in 2005, when they beat AC Milan on penalties. But last season his relationship with coach Rafael Benitez has been strained as he has found himself second in the pecking order behind Spaniard Pepe Reina. Dudek is just the third Polish-born footballer to play at Real after W. Rozitsky from 1913-1915 and Raymond Kopa (Kopaszewski) in the 1950s