Sami Khedira, the Stuttgart midfielder, is eager to join Real Madrid after admitting his fascination with Jose Mourinho. Mourinho, the Real manager, is reportedly interested in taking Khedira to the Bernabeu after the 23-year-old German turned in a series of impressive displays in the World Cup. And the player himself is receptive to a move.
He told Bild newspaper: "I am considering a move to Real Madrid. The club have confirmed there is interest. Real Madrid is the biggest club in the world and Jose Mourinho is one of the most successful coaches in the world. Mourinho has always fascinated me. He plays a style of football which I can identify with - tactically perfect, compact in defence and quick on the counter-attack. It is the only way to be successful today."
Khedira claims Real are the only club he would consider leaving Stuttgart for. "If I wasn't serious about a move I would have allowed no contact," he said. "I would not have given it a thought for any other club in the world apart from Real." Meanwhile, Fredi Bobic, the former Germany striker, is on the verge of being named Stuttgart manager. Erwin Staudt, the club's president said: "Everything is ready, now it can go very fast."
The 23 members of France's World Cup squad have been suspended for the country's next game, the French Football Federation (FFF) said yesterday. The decision was taken during a meeting of the FFF's federal council on the recommendation of Laurent Blanc, the new coach, following the country's World Cup debacle, a statement said. France's next international is a friendly against Norway in Oslo on August 11.
The country's World Cup campaign in South Africa was a total failure as France were eliminated in the group stage having only scored one goal. Their exit followed a players' boycott of a training session in support of striker Nicolas Anelka, who was sent home for insulting coach Raymond Domenech at half-time during a 2-0 defeat to Mexico. Filipe Luis, the Deportivo La Coruna full-back, is only a medical review away from sealing his transfer to Atletico Madrid for a reported fee of 10 million (Dh47.3m).
The Brazilian, 24, was in the Spanish capital yesterday to undergo the standard procedure. Real Mallorca, the financially troubled Spanish club, are preparing an appeal against their exclusion from this season's Europa League by governing body Uefa. Mallorca finished fifth in La Liga last season to qualify for the Europa League but Uefa said on Thursday it had decided the club had not fulfilled the admission criteria because the requisite licence had not been granted.
Luis Huerta, the club's lawyer, said an appeal would be lodged once more was known about Uefa's decision. "This [Uefa] decision is seriously harmful to the club's administration process as there were a series of revenues expected that would have allowed payments to creditors," Huerta said. Liverpool winger Albert Riera has signed for Olympiakos, according to the Greek club's website. * Agencies