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Ruud set for real return

REAL MADRID were last night poised to give in to Jose Mourinho's demands for a new striker, with discussions over taking Hamburg's Ruud van Nistelrooy back to the Bernabeu at an advanced stage.

The former Madrid and Manchester United forward will cost the club who let him leave for nothing at the start of the season €2m.

After Bayern Munich blocked a move for Miroslav Klose and Manchester City outpriced Emmanuel Adebayor, insisting Madrid pay his £110,000-a-week wages, Real were left with few options and Van Nistelrooy's desire to return to the Spanish capital persuaded the club to find the money to make the move happen.

Van Nistelrooy scored 46 goals in three seasons at Madrid and is a hugely popular figure with the club's fans. His age (34) and injury record makes the transfer a risk but one they felt they had to take after slipping four points behind Barcelona in the league.

Meanwhile, Dani Alves moved a step closer to joining Manchester City next season after rejecting a second offer to extend his Barcelona contract.

Irish Independent