Real Madrid sign Joselu on loan from Espanyol

Joselu was the third top scorer in LaLiga last season, behind Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema. Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid have signed Espanyol and Spain forward Joselu on a season-long loan with an option to make the deal permanent, the club announced on Monday.

Joselu, 33, scored 16 LaLiga goals for Espanyol last season -- only Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema scored more -- as they were relegated from Spain's top flight.

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He was part of Spain's squad for the UEFA Nations League final four, scoring the winner against Italy in their 2-1 semifinal victory after coming on as an 84th-minute substitute.

Madrid have been looking to bring in a striker after Benzema and Mariano Diaz left this month, leaving Vinicius Junior and Rodrgyo as the club's only senior forwards.

Joselu -- whose full name is Jose Luis Mato Sanmartin -- first signed for Madrid from Celta Vigo in 2009 and scored a career-high 26 goals for reserve team Real Madrid Castilla in 2011-12.

He made one appearance for the first team, scoring in an 8-1 win over Almeria in May 2011, before moving to Hoffenheim in Germany.

Spells at Eintracht Frankfurt, Hannover 96, Stoke City, Deportivo La Coruna and Newcastle United followed before Joselu re-found his goalscoring form at Alaves, scoring 36 LaLiga goals over three seasons between 2019 and 2022.

A move to Espanyol in July last year saw him find the best form of his career, earning a first Spain call-up at the age of 32 in March, during which he scored twice in three minutes in a 3-0 Euro 2024 qualifying win over Norway.