Puyol set to resume squad training despite fractured cheekbone

Carley Puyol, Cesc Fabregas - FC Barcelona, Real Sociedad

Carley Puyol, Cesc Fabregas – FC Barcelona, Real Sociedad

Barcelona defender Carles Puyol could be match fit in time for Wednesday’s Spanish Supercopa second leg away against Real Madrid despite having sustained a fractured cheekbone.

The Spain international picked up the facial injury in the Catalans’ 2-1 La Liga win over Osasuna, and he was initially expected to be out of action for a while.

Nevertheless, Barca have revealed that the centre-back will resume regular training action on Tuesday, and they are hopeful that Puyol will be available on Wednesday.

“Medical tests confirm that Carles Puyol has fractured his right cheekbone, according to the report released by the team’s medical services this morning,” a statement on the official Barcelona website reads.

“The captain will maintain a conservative recovery plan, but he will join his team-mates for Tuesday’s training session. His recovery will mark his availability for the return leg of the Spanish Supercup against Madrid on Wednesday.”

Barcelona defend a 3-2 lead from the first leg in the return at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Tax problems made re-signing Kaka impossible, admits Galliani

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has poured cold water on the club’s purported bid to re-sign Kaka from Real Madrid, following his consultation with a tax accountant to ascertain the financial validity of a move.

The Rossoneri have embarked on a summer-long search for a high-profile signing in order to pacify irate fans over the sales of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to Paris Saint-Germain, only to see their attempts to bring back the Brazilian stopped in their tracks.

Gazzetta dello Sport claims the feedback received when Galliani consulted a financial professional’s opinion earlier on Monday morning was negative, and his latest statements have confirmed those claims.

“The tax problem? It’s all true,” the official admitted to Milan Channel. “We asked the opinion of a tax accountant who said it was ‘too risky’.”

Milan could now turn their attention to M’Baye Niang in order to reinforce Massimiliano Allegri’s options, after talks of a crisis grew widespread following the side’s 1-0 home loss to newly-promoted Sampdoria on Sunday.

Kaka completed a move to the Santiago Bernabeu for a fee of €68.5 million in 2009, but has struggled for playing time following Jose Mourinho’s appointment as coach.

The arrival of Luka Modric in a €42m move from Tottenham is only expected to further blunt the 30-year-old’s prospects.

Modric laments delays in completing move to Real Madrid

Luka Modric has expressed his relief at finally completing a dream move to Real Madrid, after a €42 million deal with Tottenham was concluded agreed on Monday.

The successful resolution to negotiations brings to an end one of the most protracted transfer sagas of the summer transfer window, with the constant haggling over a transfer price between the two clubs threatening to scupper the switch.

Modric had agreed personal terms with the Santiago Bernabeu outfit beforehand, but Spurs chairman Daniel Levy’s financial demands initially proved problematic, a circumstance the 27-year-old acknowledged with regret.

“It [negotiations] has been a really long process, and I’ve missed two games,” uttered the Croatia international at his official unveiling.

“I have been training with Tottenham’s fitness coach, working hard as well as playing for Croatia. I hope I will only need a couple of games to get fit and reach my peak fitness level and that expected of me by Real Madrid.”

The creative midfielder then spoke of his enthusiasm regarding the prospect of playing under coach Jose Mourinho, insisting he is up to the challenge of playing on the greater stage.

“I’m happy, honoured and proud to be at the biggest club in the world,” Modric enthused. “When I realised that Real Madrid wanted to sign me, I was excited that such a big club were showing an interest in me.”

“I want to play football and get a place in the team. At Tottenham, I played in the centre of the park and we’ll see how Mourinho, who is the best coach in the world, wants to use me.

“It will be difficult but I think I have the quality to play here. I have set myself the challenge of winning trophies with Real Madrid.”

Indeed, Mourinho will be hopeful his latest signing will spur on the Blancos in the club’s already-stuttering title defence, after seeing his men only collect a single point in their opening two Liga fixtures.

Casillas demands Real Madrid improvement after poor start

Iker Casillas - Real Madrid

Iker Casillas – Real Madrid

Iker Casillas believes Real Madrid must improve after they were beaten 2-1 by Getafe in the Madrid derby on Sunday.

The defeat for los Blancos comes a week after the 1-1 draw with Valencia at Santiago Bernabeu and coach Jose Mourinho was quick to criticise his team in the wake of the match.

And the club’s captain has accepted that his team-mates must improve in the coming matches, but remains confident that they can turn things around.

“To be five points off the top is not a good start,” he was quoted as saying by ESPN.

“Nobody expected this, we have to look at what we are not doing well. We did not know how to defend. We cannot allow it because it is costing us points and games.

“There are collective and individual errors. I agree with the boss. Last season we had two stumbles in a row and we lifted ourselves back up.”

Madrid entertain Liga leaders Barcelona on Wednesday for the second leg of the Spanish Supercopa, which they trail 3-2.

Butragueno: Modric will help Real Madrid achieve their goals

Real Madrid director of football Emilio Butragueno believes that Luka Modric will play an important part in his club’s quest for glory this season.

After a lengthy summer transfer saga, the former Tottenham man finally completed his switch to Real for a fee of €42 million, and Butragueno thinks the new acquisition will thrive at Santiago Bernabeu.

“With your talent and quality, you will help us achieve our goals,” the former Spain international told Modric at his unveiling.

“For me it is a true pleasure to welcome Luka Modric. This is going to be your home for the next five seasons.”

Butragueno also dismissed suggestions that Jose Mourinho’s side’s poor start to their Liga campaign was down to the drawn out nature of the 26-year-old’s move.

“We would have liked to close the deal before, but it was not to be. The recent results have not had anything to do with it.”