What made you pick this particular song? I would imagine that it has something to do with your wife? I doubt that it's about a friend...
Yes, it's my wife's favourite song and one that I also like a lot, so what better way to start this programme than with this song?
I know that you had a few doubts about coming along to do this programme because you thought you wouldn't be able to control your laughter...
Yes, I do laugh quite a lot and I thought that maybe I wouldn't be able to do the interview.
Well, I'm sure that you'll be fine. You are always laughing, aren't you? Is that Raul Albiol in everyday life? Whether you are well or not, playing or not? I am sure that there are moments when maybe you have a poor match or when the team loses, that you are less happy, but you are almost like the Spanish Marcelo, always laughing!
Well I try to keep a happy face and be as happy as I can, but just like anyone else, I have good days and bad ones. Even so, I just try to enjoy my life every single day. I am lucky to have a job which I enjoy doing and so I just try to make the most of it.
Regarding your job, are you fully aware of the club you play for?
Yes. I think that we are very privileged to be at a club like Real Madrid and being able to enjoy each day at this club. That's why I try to enjoy each day to the fullest, because time flies quickly and, before you realize it, the season is almost at an end.
There is one very special thing about you. I have never seen a player win over the dressing room as quickly as you have. You did that just for being who you are. I can't see anyone being more appreciated than you are - it's impossible!
Well, I have such great teammates. They are good people and I think I was lucky enough that, when I first arrived, I was welcomed with open arms and treated really well, and I felt happy and at ease. I always just try to be normal, to be myself and to respect those around me. I've never had any problems in any dressing room and, hopefully, it will continue that way.
Of course we remember the day when you were unveiled as a Real Madrid player, but I am sure that people would love to know more about your roots. You are from a small town in Valencia, Villamarchante - a really beautiful town. Tell us a little more about Villamarchante.
Villamarchante is a very small village which has grown a bit in recent years. There are about 8,000 inhabitants and we all practically know one another. My parents have their lottery administration office there - they moved there about 20 years ago. Whenever I go back, for me, it's a bit like when I was a young boy and I used to play football in the park or the street with my friends. Going back always reminds me of those times, of being a child.
Your brothers are Miguel and Brian. Is it true that he was named after Brian Laudrup? Did you convince your parents to name him Brian after Brian Laudrup?
I did because I don't think my parents were expecting Brain! My mother was almost 40 years old and they were not expecting it to happen. I always wanted a younger brother and it wasn't easy for my mother at that age. But it was a great surprise for us. My father told my brother Miguel and I that we could pick a name for the baby. At that time, I really liked the Denmark side. I liked Michael Laudrup. My brother Brian was born in 1994 and I think Denmark won the European championship in 1992 and I admired that team. Michael is the same as Miguel, so we decided to name him Brian. I know it sounds a little American!
I doubt there are many other Brians in Villamarchante!
We liked the name and we had to go and speak to the priest to see if it was okay but seeing as he was an old friend of ours, there was no problem.
Tell us about the first football pitch you played on, maybe it was a town square? On the street?
We played in the town then. Later, I put my name down for a proper football team as an eight-year-old.
Riba-Roja wasn't it?
Yes. Villamarchante was too small to have its own team so I went to the next village. I spent a couple of years there, and then returned to Villamarchante for a year. Those were very happy days because when the matches were over, we would go to the bakery and have breakfast and just enjoy myself with my school friends. Later on, when I was 12, I had a chance to go for a trial at Valencia and joined their academy.
Most people know you as one of Real Madrid’s centre backs, but you started out as a midfielder didn't you?
Yes. That was a long time ago now, but I did. I was a midfielder during most of my early playing days and up until my First Division debut. It would be a bit difficult for me to play there now! It was Quique Sánchez Flores who moved me to a new position in central defence. I felt quite comfortable at the back and I just tried to learn and improve as a defender and I hope I continue improving.
From Valencia you moved to Getafe. We can't forget that accident you had, not for the suffering you went through, but what do you remember of that episode? Were you driving to Madrid to be presented as a Getafe player?
Yes. I remember practically everything. The presentation was scheduled for six o'clock in the evening. I had my suitcases packed and ready and we left the house. We were going to drive across in my father's car but he had a few technical problems with it so we went in my agent's car - a BMW I think. Halfway through the journey, I decide to a look at ‘Marca’. I had my seatbelt half on as I wanted to reach for something in my rucksack and I think I forgot to put my seatbelt back on. It was raining and, suddenly, while I was reading the newspaper, I heard a scream from the driver and then a huge thud. I have no memory after that. I blocked it all out. I opened my eyes and I was in a helicopter. It was a difficult moment. It was tough as I was young and excited about playing in the First Division and making my debut with Getafe. Three days after my accident we had a game against Real Madrid in Alicante with Zidane, Figo... all of the big stars. So I was really excited about playing in that game but all of a sudden, there I was, almost one month in hospital. It was a tough time for me.
After that, you later returned to Valencia for a few seasons and then, in 2009, Real Madrid came knocking.
It was a dream. For any youngster, any player, the biggest thing is to play for Real Madrid and to have the chance to sign for the best club in the world makes you feel a bit nervous but at the same time, you want to close the deal as soon as possible so that you can say that you are a Real Madrid player. I was with the Spanish national team for the Confederations Cup when it happened. It was a special day for me and it was all resolved in a few days. Everyone congratulated me while I knew that this was going to be a huge step forward in my career.
What is the thing about Real Madrid that has made the biggest impression on you?
Above all else, the sheer dimension of the club wherever you go in the world, you get welcomed by fans who are very excited and happy to see Real Madrid. That's how big this club is. And its great history, including the present squad which is one of the best ones. You realize the responsibilities that you have.
What is this team capable of achieving? You have some great players and the fans are excited. There is a real connection between the team and the supporters. You see it every week at the Santiago Bernabeu.
I think we are the most entertaining team around right now. You only have to see the stadium packed out for every game and also how the fans enjoy going to the match. We are much stronger as a team than last season's and I think we can continue to entertain but also reach our objectives, which is what we must do. The team is on the right path and it's all going well.
Who do you regard as the best player in the world?
For me, without any doubt, it has to be Cristiano Ronaldo. Just watching him train every day and then playing - he is the most complete player in every aspect. He's got everything - the way he heads the ball, his shooting, velocity, character… He always wants to win. Sometimes he even gets angry with us! But that's what it's like to be such a great player and achieve what he has achieved, both collectively and individually. So, to share a dressing room with him is going to be one of my fondest memories when I am older. I can always say that I was close to one of the greatest players of all time and shared the same changing room.
What do you think about this new Real Madrid side? Many people feel that the team has grown and is even better than it was last season?
I think that, as a team, we are much more compact, we are stronger in both defence and attack. We have improved on many aspects of our game - even on our mentality. Last year we dropped some important points and now we know that if we want to win the league we cannot afford to. We have a winning spirit and our concentration is better now. We have won many games and that just makes you even stronger. Apart from that, we are now in our second year with the coach and so we all know each other better. We have taken a big step this season, in our bid to win silverware.
You say the team is stronger mentally. A lot of that is down to the coach. What has Mourinho brought to the team?
Mourinho has given us character and a winning mentality. He has improved our concentration and demands the most from us. You know that you cannot relax for one minute. He trains us hard. He is always present and the players know that if you don't deliver then there is another player who is fully charged and ready. We are all ready, prepared and playing at a high level. We all know what a great coach Mourinho is for all that he has done with his previous clubs. Being with him on a daily basis allows us to learn more from him and let's hope that we can win all of the trophies we want to take this season, and that we have something to celebrate at the end of the campaign.