Metzelder agrees to join Schalke in the summer
Out-of-favour defender Christoph Metzelder will return to the Bundesliga after agreeing to sign for Schalke, where he played as a youth, when his contract with Real Madrid expires.
Metzelder has failed to hold down a regular place at Real since moving to Spain from Borussia Dortmund in 2007. In three injury-hit years at Real, Metzelder has started just 18 La Liga matches.
The Germany international has made just two appearances for Real this season, the most recent game being the 2-0 win at Racing Santander at the start of the month, and has had to be content with a place on the bench at best.
Wolfsburg were also thought to be interested in the player at one stage.
Metzelder emerged as one of the best central defenders in Germany when at Dortmund before his switch to Madrid. He has won 47 caps for the national team but is unlikely to be considered for this summer's World Cup finals in South Africa.
A statement on Schalke's official website read: "A World Cup and a European Championship runner-up will soon play for the Royal Blues: Christoph Metzelder is joining Schalke from Real Madrid for the coming season and receives a three-year contract until June 30, 2013.''
Schalke coach Felix Magath revealed he had tried to sign Metzelder before when he has in charge of Wolfsburg.
"At that time I got to know him and came to value him and I am ecstatic that he has chosen us,'' Magath said today on the kicker website. "He is not only a former Schalke youth player, but also a player with a real sense of responsibility, a leader.''