BREAKING NEWS: QPR agree fee with Real Madrid for Esteban Granero

QPR have reached an agreement with Real Madrid to sign midfielder Esteban Granero, the west London club have confirmed.

The two clubs have settled on a fee, and all that remains is for Granero to agree personal terms and complete a medical ahead of a permanent switch to Loftus Road.

Ian Taylor, the Rs press officer, tweeted: “#QPR have reached agreement with Real Madrid for the permanent transfer of midfielder Esteban Granero …

“The deal is subject to (Esteban) Granero agreeing personal terms and passing a medical. Further updates to follow on @OfficialQPR.”

Should the deal be completed, the Spaniard could become the 10th new arrival of a busy summer for QPR, who are looking to seal the signing of Stephane M’Bia from French giants Marseille.

Boss Mark Hughes is also believed to be interested in Granero’s Real Madrid team-mate Ricardo Carvalho, who has been told by Jose Mourinho that he is not in Los Blancos’ plans for this season.

Xavi: Barca could have beaten Madrid with 10 men

Xavi has insisted that Barcelona had every chance of beating Real Madrid on Wednesday, despite the fact that they were reduced to 10 men even before the half-time whistle due to Adriano’s dismissal.

The Catalans were beaten 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu, meaning that their arch-rivals pipped them to the Spanish Supercopa on away-goals following Barca’s 3-2 win in the first leg.

Nevertheless, the influential midfielder saw plenty of positives in his side’s defeat after a much-improved showing in the second half.

“The two errors and the red card were key in our loss. Nevertheless, we bounced back well and we could have won the Supercopa even when we were reduced to 10 men,” Xavi told reporters.

“We kept on playing football and we were true to our style of play, despite the fact that we were down a man. In the second half we created enough chances to win the trophy.”

The influential midfielder then urged his team-mates to forget about the Supercup loss and focus on La Liga again.

“We lost a title, but there are more important ones still to play for. Now we have to change our mentality and think about the Liga match this Sunday.”

Barcelona host Valencia on Sunday evening.

Cartoon of the Day: Vilanova's three stooges conspire to gift Madrid Supercopa spoils

Oh dear, oh dear. Barcelona must be kicking themselves wondering just how Supercopa success managed to slip from their grasp.

The Catalans were, at one stage in the first leg, inches away from taking a 4-1 lead but now have to face up to the reality that they have not added to their trophy collection.

Following Victor Valdes’ howler in the first leg, Barca’s luck was out once again in the return meeting as first, after just 11 minutes, Javier Mascherano’s pathetic attempt at a clearance allowed Gonzalo Higuain to race through and grab the opening goal of the game, squaring the aggregate scoreline.

And just eight minutes later there was more embarrasment for Tito Vilanova’s men as Gerard Pique’s lapse in concentration saw Cristiano Ronaldo’s extravagent flick come off before he steadied himself and fired past Valdes to put Real two up on the night.

Surely that was that in terms of leaving Barca players with egg on their faces? Well it wasn’t.

Step forward Adriano who completes the line-up of the three Barca stooges as he was red carded for pulling back Ronaldo just before the half hour mark – and not even Lionel Messi, despite his best efforts having pulled a goal back, could stop Mourinho getting his hands on more silverware…

Vilanova’s three stooges conspire to gift Madrid Supercopa spoils

Cristiano Ronaldo: Barcelona win is a confidence boost

Cristiano ronaldo celebrates the winning of spanish supercup

Cristiano ronaldo celebrates the winning of spanish supercup

Cristiano Ronaldo has voiced his delight with Real Madrid’s 2-1 home win over Barcelona in the second leg of their Spanish Supercopa encounter, and stressed that winning their first title of the season at the expense of their arch-rivals is a real confidence boost.

Los Blancos were beaten 3-2 in the first leg, but early goals from Gonzalo Higuain and the Portuguese winger put the Santiago Bernabeu side 4-3 up on aggregate.

Lionel Messi then pegged one back from a free kick, but it was not enough for Barca as Madrid came out victorious on the away-goals rule.

“We started well and we scored two quick goals that gave us confidence,” he was quoted as saying on the club’s official website.

“We played well and created many chances. In the second half we slowed the tempo because we were tired, but we deserved to win.

“We won an important trophy. It gives us confidence and we have to celebrate it. We cannot slip up in La Liga because we know that Barcelona are very strong.”

Full-back Alvaro Arbeloa was equally pleased with Madrid’s display and urged his team-mates to show a similar attitude in La Liga.

“I’m very happy, we played an amazing match. We should have won by more because we created many chances; the important thing was to win the match and give our fans something to cheer about, which they deserved.

“This is the attitude everyone wants and we are the first to know it, not just against Barcelona, but every week in the Liga.”

Madrid lock horns with Granada on Sunday.

European giants descend on Monaco for Champions League draw

Following the conclusion of the Champions League play-offs on Wednesday evening, all 32 teams that will take part in the group stage of European club football’s elite competition are now known, and they will be desperate to find out who they will be pitted against during Thursday evening’s draw in Monaco.

The draw, which is scheduled to start at 17:45CET, will feature an impressive 12 previous winners of the competition, as well as three teams making their debut at the highest level.

All of the top seeded teams except Arsenal have lifted the trophy on at least one occasion, and Manchester United are even making a record 18th appearance in the 21st edition of the Champions League. Meanwhile, Montpellier, Nordsjaelland and Malaga are all set to make their bow in the tournament.

Their status as rookies does not mean that these teams go into the competition without ambition, though, as was illustrated by Boquerones winger Joaquin’s words.

“As for the group stage draw, we know that all rivals will be tough but we have qualified and are determined to enjoy the competition and go as far as we can,” the Spaniard remarked.

Of the 32 teams that featured in last year’s edition of the competition, 20 have once again managed to reach the group stages this term. will bring you all the coverage you need as we find out how the group stages in Europe’s elite club competition will look between now and December.

Click here to follow all the coverage of the draw, which will take place from 17:00BST on Thursday.