David Albelda profile
By Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
David Albelda is one of the unsung stars for both club and country with much of his tireless work in the midfield engine room going unnoticed.
While not as lavishly gifted as some of his Spanish team-mates, the Valencia captain provides the platform for those around him to play.
A fierce competitor, the 31-year-old normally sits in front of the defence snuffing out danger before it reaches the back-line.
Combative and strong in the tackle, Albelda is renowned for his ball-winning skills but is also an adept distributor.
While his range of passing may not match the likes of Xavi or Xabi Alonso, that is not his game - it is his aggressive and feisty style that so complements the more creative players.
Born in Alcira, he started his playing career in the Valencia B side before then-boss Jorge Valdano promoted him to the first team in 1997 - from where he was loaned out to Villarreal for two seasons.
He returned to the Mestalla a more complete player on the back of regular action but a broken leg hindered his attempts to establish himself in the Che first team.
However, on his return from the injury he quickly regained his best form and enjoyed arguably his best campaign to date in Valencia's championship winning season of 2001/02.
Albelda, along with Spain team-mate Ruben Baraja, still forms Valencia's engine room, providing a spirited and determined influence.
Valencia showed just how highly they rate their skipper by handing him a new six-year contract in December 2003 which will undoubtedly see him end his playing days at the club.
His full international bow came in September 2001 against Liechtenstein and, although he has only just over 30 caps to his name, he is a much-valued member of Luis Aragones' squad.
With competition for places in the Spanish midfield so strong, Albelda is not a guaranteed starter this summer, but he looks likely to be the man to whom Aragones will turn to anchor his midfield.