Sport Soccer

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Valdano exit gives Mourinho control

Pete Jenson

JOSE MOURINHO'S 'this town isn't big enough for the both of us' saga with Jorge Valdano may have run its course, with Real Madrid's director general expected to leave the club shortly.

His departure, possibly before June, would give Mourinho complete control over this summer's signings -- a process that is already under way.

Real Madrid have already added Turkish midfielder Nuri Sahin (22) to their squad from Borussia Dortmund and, on Monday, are expected to announce the signing of his international team-mate Hamit Altintop.

The versatile 28-year-old, who can play at full-back or in midfield, has started only three games for Bayern Munich this season and will leave for a nominal fee because he has just one year left on his contract.

Altintop shares an agent with Mesut Ozil and, with Sami Khedira, would complete a quartet of Bundesliga signings for Mourinho, who now wants to focus his attention on a big-name striker.

Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Llorente remains the No 1 target, but Madrid would need to recoup money on Kaka and possibly Karim Benzema to finance the €40m move.

Madrid play their penultimate game tomorrow against Villarreal, with Cristiano Ronaldo going in search of his 50th goal of the season. Ronaldo has netted an impressive 36 league goals and is just two short of Hugo Sanchez and Telmo Zarra's all-time record of 38 in one season.

With Valencia and Villarreal certain to join Real Madrid and Barcelona in next seasons's Champions League and Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid likely to be playing in the Europa League, all eyes will be on the bottom three -- where Deportivo, Osasuna, Getafe and Zaragoza are battling to avoid joining the already condemned Hercules and Almeria. (© Independent News Service)

Barcelona v Deportivo,

Live, tomorrow, Sky Sports 4, 8.0

Irish Independent

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