Real Madrid need a right back

Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid are not doing too much in the transfer market this summer, but they are focused on two key acquisitions. Luka Modric will complete the formidable line up in midfield, as long as Daniel Levy from Tottenham and Florentino Perez from Madrid can come to an agreement.

Neither man is willing to back down, and Modric has attempted to force Spurs’ hand by refusing to go on the club’s pre-season tour of America. There is a gap of around 10 million euros between what Spurs want and what Madrid want to pay.

Meanwhile, Mourinho has another important position he needs to cover, an attacking right back. Alvaro Arbeloa is currently the first choice right back, but the special one would like a player that offers a bit more going forward. Arbeloa is a fantastic right back but is mainly defensively minded.

Reports were claiming that Inter Milan’s Brazilian right back Maicon was virtually assured of coming to the Bernabeu but , at 31-years old, Mourinho may be looking at a younger option. The 8 million euro price tag may also have discouraged Madrid.

The two players who are thought to be on the mind of Mourinho are both English. 27-year old Glen Johnson of Liverpool has established himself as one of the best attacking right backs in the Premier league and has been given the starting position by current England manager Roy Hodgson.

Many people were surprised that the England manager did not take Manchester City’s 24-year old right back Micah Richards to Euro 2012, and he is the other player that Mourinho has been considering. It would not be easy to persuade either of the English clubs to part with their players, however.

first week of training – done!

I want to go to there (or here.  Even though Sergio’s no longer in Ibiza, it’s still beautiful enough that I wouldn’t mind)… but since it’s not time for me to take vacation yet, I’ll just have to stare wistfully at pictures like this one taken by Xabi Alonso and think how lucky I am that when it’s my turn, I’ll have football to watch while I’m relaxing “somewhere,” to quote Xabi.

That’s because our boys have been training hard in this first week of the pre-season.

On both Thursday and Friday, the team trained once in the morning and once in the afternoon.  The nine first team players were joined by the 14 canteranos for the sessions, while Ricardo Carvalho had permission from the club to be absent (I copied that straight from the previous days’ reports).  As for details, Ángel di María worked out in the gym in the Friday morning session, while Rubén Belima from RMC joined the team for the Thursday afternoon session.

Mou had to put his beloved clipboard under his shirt to keep it dry from the sprinklers, in case you were wondering why he suddenly seemed fuller in a certain area.

Álex, meanwhile, visited the children taking part in the summer campus of the Realmadrid Foundation after the Thursday afternoon session.  The kids, whose ages ranged from seven to 17, got to ask Álex questions and get photographs/autographs from him.

We finally got a change from the monotony on Saturday, with only one training session (which was open to the press) and a press conference.  As usual, the session ended with a partidillo (made up of two 30 minute halves), and this time around, Castilla (Juanfran, Mateos, Casado, Iván, Mosquera, Álex, Denis, Álvaro Borja Morata Martín and Lucas, plus Antonio Adán and Nuri Sahin) beat the first team (Higuaín, Lass, Kaká, Varane, Di María, Callejón and Granero plus Fabinho, Pacheco, Ríos and Nacho) 5-1.  Jesús switched between the two teams.  Higuaín scored for the seniors, while Lucas, Nuri Sahin (penalty), MFC ABMM and Denis (twice) for the freshmen.  A great 40th birthday present for Castilla!

Jesús, Fernando and Antonio made my dream come true during this training session, because they were wearing the striped socks!  Even though it’s no longer the bumblebee version from last season, I can’t wait to see Iker wear them!  However, I’m not entirely convinced that will happen, so I’ll put it on my list of wishes for the season.

The team will now get two days off, as they won’t return to training until Monday afternoon.

At his press conference, El Piratita stressed that he had never considered leaving Madrid, and that he hopes to form a bigger part of José Mourinho’s plans this year: “I have not considered leaving and I have not considered repeating the same role (as last year).  I want to be more of a protagonist, which is natural and something all players want.  There’s no need to change teams in order to have a bigger role.  It can be done here and I’m going to train hard for it, like I do each day.  I hope to make a space for myself, to be important.  I matured a lot during the past year, and so I’m better prepared this year.  I have a lot of hope, just like I had in the past 15 seasons.  I have a desire to learn.”  When asked about how his contract renewal negotiations were going, Esteban said, “my renewal is not a problem.  This is my 15th season and there’s no doubt that I want to be here.  There won’t be any problems.  If Madrid wants, I’ll be here for as long as they want me.”  He also said Madrid is going to be the team to beat, and revealed his (philosophical) thoughts on the Ballon d’Or: “giving an award to a footballer is unjust because it’s a collective sport.  A footballer by himself doesn’t have much meaning.  Last season, there was a team that was above all the others, we broke many records and it seems just to me that the footballer who wins it comes from this team, which is ours.”

By the way, various teams, such as Zaragoza, are training on the beach.  Why can’t we do that?

In other news, Raúl Albiol was made an honorary member of Club Deportivo Mercadal, a team that plays in the Baleares third division.  Although Raúl was in Menorca on vacation, he was still working out most days (good boy), and he chose to do so at Mercadal, which is why the club decided to make him an honorary member.  The club’s president, Antoni Palliser, presented El Chori with a club keychain, a club scarf, some typical products from the town of Es Mercadal and an ensaimada with the escudo of Real Madrid on it (made by the Pastisseria Ca’n Pons)!  It looks delicious, no?  Raúl is back home in Vilamarxant now beating Brian at padel.

In other news, Fernando Gago is going to Valencia.  Fernando arrived in the city of Valencia on Thursday night, after his old club and his new club reached a pre-agreement.  Since then, the signing has been made official.  It’s been reported that Valencia will pay Madrid somewhere in the range of €3.5-5 million, and that Fernando accepted a pay cut, meaning he’ll “only” earn €1.5 million for each of the four seasons he’s set to play with Valencia.  He told the press upon arrival in his hotel that he’s content and excited to play with Valencia.  The next day, during his presentation, he said he doesn’t hold any grudges against Madrid.  We’ll be seeing Fernando in about a month’s time, as Madrid is set to kick off this year’s Liga against Valencia.

During these negotiations, the issue of Sergio Canales was also discussed.  Apparently Valencia wants him to continue with them for two more seasons, and since players are not allowed to be loaned out to one club for three consecutive seasons, the two clubs had to come to an agreement on a situation that both sides can accept.  In other words, they have to agree on Canales becoming a Valencia player in all aspects, and Madrid is apparently asking for €8 million for that to happen.  It’s also been reported that Madrid will have a buyback option in whatever contract is signed.  I hope he has a chance to shine and triumph!  I can’t help but feel that his career took a giant step backwards when he signed for Madrid, and then there were those two consecutive injuries with Valencia… pobrecito.  He deserves good things.

Modric tells Tottenham he wants to join Real Madrid

Luka Modric has told his bosses at Tottenham that he is determined to be A real Madrid player next season. The 26-year old Crotian playmaker did not join his Tottenham team mates for training today, as he tries to persuade the club not to block his dream move.

Spurs are demanding no less than £35 million for the midfielder who is contracted with them until 2016. There is a danger of Madrid backing out of the deal and that would leave Modric angry and upset. Last summer, Chelsea were rebuffed by Tottenham even though Modric believed he had a “gentleman’s agreement” with the chairman Daniel Levy.

Modric refused to play in the opening game of last season and was expecting to be allowed to join Chelsea but it did not happen. Former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp managed to then convince him to concentrate on football. It seems as if the same thing could happen again. Levy should seriously consider how the player will react if he is forced to stay at White Hart Lane against his will.

The current manager Andre Villas-Boas has spoken to Modric and says “I understand his point and he understands the club’s point.” Levy is a hard negotiator but neither Madrid or Manchester United agree with his valuation of the player. Will Modric be able to persuade him to lower the price? I hope so.

third day of training

Well, not much happened on the third day of the pre-season (hence the very uninspired title of this post, which I do apologize for), so here’s a picture of Raúl Albiol enjoying himself in Menorca to keep you awake for the rest of this post.

The boys got to take a break from the Madrid heat, with only one training session on Wednesday.  Still, it was pretty hot when the afternoon session began at 17:30h.  All of the available first team members (minus Ricardo Carvalho, who once again had permission not to train) were joined by the 13 canteranos who had practiced with them during the two previous days, plus a new edition. Fabinho, an 18-year-old Brazilian rightback, has joined Castilla to make up for the departure of Dani Carvajal.  He comes to us from Rio Ave.

According to Marca, Karim Benzema will report for duty on July 23, the two Germans on July 24, the three Portuguese on July 25 and the five Spaniards on July 28.  Apparently, Cris wants to play in the Eusébio Cup, as Eusébio is one of his idols (if you think back, Eusébio was present as Cris’ presentation three years ago).  And wouldn’t it be nice if Sergio could stay on vacation just a bit longer, so that we can get more pictures like this one?  Random observation: I notice that his friend is wearing a Redskins cap, one that Sergio was just wearing a few days ago.

Other pre-season news:  Oviedo has confirmed the friendly against Madrid on July 24 at the Carlos Tartiere, which will be Madrid’s first game of the season.  However, the kick-off time has not been confirmed yet.  Oviedo (the club) is negotiating with the workers of the control tower at the airport to go off duty later, so that Madrid will be able to return to the capital immediately after playing in the game.  If they are able to come to an agreement, the game will be played at 20h.  If not, the game will be at 19h.

Castilla’s pre-season started on Wednesday as well.  The 11 available players did medical tests in the morning, and then trained in the afternoon.  The only new face was Quini, although according to AS, Madrid is working on signing additional players for Castilla to reinforce the squad.  The names mentioned were Borja García (Córdoba) and Lucas Pérez (Karpaty).  Jesé and Derik will join Castilla on July 25, and some of the players currently training with the first team will return to Castilla once the first team – with some of the canteranos – heads to the U.S. for the American leg of its pre-season.

How come Madrid didn’t give us shirtless photos from the first team’s physicals?  Not fair!  I demand equality!

Real Madrid transfer news 6/7/2012

Things have been a bit quiet om the transfer front, with many players still on holiday but I expect things to start happening now.

It looks like Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid will not be signing David Silva from Manchester City.The Spanish midfielder is close to signing a lucrative new five year deal with the English champions. He is thought to be going to receive £200,000 a week and has settled in Manchester. Silva is currently on holiday after winning Euro 2012 with Spain but has stated that he will sign his new deal when he returns.

If reports in Croatia are to be believed then Luka Modric of Tottenham will be playing in the white of Madrid this season. The 26-year old playmaker has expressed his desire for the move and the club are finally about to relent, apparently. The London club wanted around 50 million euros for will have to accept around 35 million from Madrid in order to stop Modric from moving to Spurs’ rivals Chelsea or Manchester United.

Madrid might beat Chelsea to another player this summer. With Madrid’s young right back Carvajal moving to the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkeusen, Mourinho needs cover for Arbeloa. Maicon of Inter Milan was thought to be on the way to Chelsea but Mourinho has worked with the 30-year old Brazilian before and the player would prefer to join his old boss at the Bernabeu.