Monday, August 21, 2006

Goalkeeper surprise

It might sound incredible, but coach Fabio Capello is seriously thinking about dumping Iker Casillas for backup goalkeeper Diego Lopez on Wednesday for the Bernabeu Trophy clash with Anderlecht.

And maybe it is beacause Capello has been impressed by Lopez in preseason training and favours the larger-framed youngster over Casillas.

According to spanish media, Real staff are concerned with Casillas' approach in training. The Spain No1 has reportedly become more introverted, serious and coaching staff are worried about his confidence going into the new season.

In fact, if Lopez passes his test on Wednesday night, Capello will seriously consider going with him in the Liga proper - though he does have concerns with the goalkeeper's lack of experience.

Diarra is now a Real Madrid's player

This is no doubt the most important moment of his career. Mali football player Mahamadou Diarra will join Real Madrid with a five-year contract from French champions Olympique Lyon. The transfer will be official after the Spanish club agreed personal terms with the midfielder.

Real Madrid expressed on Sunday that the 25-year-old would be presented in the next few days after passing a medical with the club.

"As we already said, he was the signing our coach (Fabio Capello) had asked for because he considered him to be essential and so we are delighted that we are able to grant him his wish," Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon explained.

Obviously, neither club disclosed fee details. However, Spanish media say the nine-times European champions have agreed to pay Lyon some 26 million euros ($33.37 million), making Diarra the most expensive close-season signing in the Primera Liga.

In fact, Lyon were originally reported to have asked for over 35 million euros for the Mali international but Calderon said they had settled for much less.

Diarra is the fourth incorporation to join Real since Calderon was elected president last month and brings the club's total close-season spending to over 60 million euros in new players.

We must remember that Real Madrid have also signed Italy's World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro, Brazil midfielder Emerson from Juventus and Dutch forward Ruud van Nistelrooy from Manchester United. Now the Spanish team has a really good squad.