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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Real Madrid 'done and dusted' in transfer market as Lopetegui rules out last-minute signings

European champions were expected to sign a high-profile direct replacement for Ronaldo but Lopetegui insists his 'squad is complete'

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Real Madrid vs Getafe - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - August 19, 2018 Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui gestures during the match REUTERS/Sergio Perez/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Real Madrid vs Getafe - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - August 19, 2018 Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui gestures during the match REUTERS/Sergio Perez/File Photo

Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui has said the European champions are unlikely to make any transfer deadline day signings, all but ruling out the possibility of recruiting a directing replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo sale.

Ronaldo, 33, ended a nine year stay at Madrid, during which he became the club's all-time record goalscorer, by completing a €100 million (Dh428.6m) move to Italian champions Juventus this summer.

The Portuguese forward's departure led to plenty of speculation over who could replace him at the Bernabeu, with Chelsea's Eden Hazard and Paris Saint-Germain pair Neymar and Kylian Mbappe among the players linked to the Spanish giants.

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However, Lopetugui, who replaced Zinedine Zidane as Madrid manager this summer, is not expecting any new arrivals.

“The squad is complete, and we’re happy with the players we’ve got, that’s all that matters,” Lopetegui told a news conference.

“With Mariano’s arrival it’s all done and dusted. There won’t be any last minute moves and we’re happy with that.”

This year the Premier League's transfer window shut before the English top flight season got underway and Lopetegui said he would be in favour of a similar setup in Spain.

“It’s my belief that the window should close earlier so we can focus on reality, on what we have to do - it wouldn’t be a bad thing - but it’s not the case at the moment," he said.

Madrid completed a clean sweep of the individual prizes at Uefa's awards ceremony in Monaco on Thursday, with goalkeeper Keylor Navas, defender Sergio Ramos and midfielder Luka Modric all named the best players in their positions for last season. Modric was also named the overall player of the year.

Ronaldo, too, was rewarded for the form he showed with the club last season, although he did not attend the ceremony.

Madrid host local rivals Leganes at the Bernabeu on Saturday, with new signing Mariano Diaz set to be named in the squad following his return to the club from Olympique Lyonnais.

Navas, meanwhile, is expected to retain his place in goal ahead of Thibaut Courtois, who signed from Chelsea in the close season.

“We’ll see tomorrow who starts, but I’ve got maximum confidence in all my goalkeepers,” he said. “Only one can play but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in the other.

“We’re relaxed about it and the fact is we have good options in that position.”