Real end Villa chase
Jorge Valdano admits Real Madrid have turned their focus elsewhere after Valencia declared their intentions not to sell David Villa.
Madrid had seemed in pole position to sign Villa with cash-strapped Valencia looking resigned to selling the prize asset, but the long-running saga took a big twist on Friday when Los Che announced they had taken the player off the market. Valencia president Manuel Llorente said Villa was not for sale and that they would only consider it if they received a huge offer for the prolific Spain international.
Madrid general director Valdano has now conceded his club must switch their attentions to other targets. "The situation with Villa is 100 per cent finished. There was a call from president to president in which they told us that Villa was not for sale," said Valdano to Radio Nacional de Espana (RNE). "We understand that we need to go for an alternative, which we are working on."
Among the players who Madrid are being linked to as possible additions up front next season are Inter Milan hitman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lyon's Karim Benzema and Diego Forlan, who was La Liga's leading scorer last season with Atletico Madrid. Valdano was keeping his cards close to his chest though, saying: "Forlan, Ibrahimovic and Benzema are three greats of world football. But this does not mean Madrid are working towards signing one of them."
Valdano has also been quizzed about two other players Madrid have been linked with, Liverpool's Spanish international duo Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa. Valdano and Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez have not always seen eye to eye in the past, but the Madrid general director insists that will not affect any talks they have with the Reds. When asked about Alonso in an interview with AS, Valdano said: "There we have possibilities but I don't want to say anything that will make negotiations difficult. We will wait for the right time.
"What I'm sure about is that Liverpool and Real Madrid are above personal relationships. Benitez was here and has kept friendships with employees of the club. Personal disagreements matter little in this. I don`t think they`d affect the negotiations."
About full-back Arbeloa, who started his career at Madrid, Valdano added: "It's true that the kid only has a year left on his contract at Liverpool and this offers more possibilities. He plays at number two and at three, and this versatility is good. We know him well. He is another option to weigh up."