Real go Dutch again
Real Madrid Thursday presented their new striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Signed from Ajax, he becomes the sixth Dutch player in the squad.
"I think my adaptation will be rather smooth because there are many Dutch players on the team, several of which I know from when they played at Ajax," the new man told a news conference. "This will make it easier than having to adapt to a team in which you know nobody. I still haven't thought much about it. I'll see how things unfold and I will ask for help if I need some."
Real, plagued by injuries and poor form this season, announced Huntelaar's signing from Ajax Amsterdam on Tuesday in a deal worth 27 million euros (34 million USD) that will keep the player at the club until 30 June 2013.
The capital side already have five Dutch players on their books: Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Rafael van der Vaart and Royston Drenthe. The squad has drawn comparisons with the Barcelona side of Dutchman Louis van Gaal, who managed the Catalan giants from 1997 to 2000 and then in 2002-03 when it became known as "Ajax Barcelona."
Huntelaar, 25, is currently out of action after damaging ankle tendons during a match against Sparta Rotterdam in early November and is not expected to be fit again until the middle of December. He said his transfer was planned for next summer, but the deal was pushed forward following a number of injuries, notably to van Nistelrooy, who is out until the end of the season after a knee operation.
Huntelaar has been talked about as the new van Nistelrooy, a player he has also replaced in the national squad. "Ruud is injured, but he is a fantastic player. I'm a different sort of striker and will try my best. I'll try to score as many goals as I possibly can," said Huntelaar.
Pepe, Wesley Sneijder and Miguel Torres are all struggling with muscle strains, and defenders Christoph Metzelder and Mahamadou Diarra joined the injured list on Tuesday.