Italy's World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro and Brazilian
midfielder Emerson have agreed to join Real Madrid from troubled
Serie A side Juventus, the Primera Liga club said on Wednesday.
"Real Madrid would like to announce that they have reached an
agreement with Juventus for the signing of Fabio Cannavaro and
Emerson," the Spanish club said on its website on Wednesday.
"The agreement was finalized this Wednesday evening in Turin by
sporting director Predrag Mijatovic. The international players will
be presented at the Bernabeu in the next few days."
Real did not disclose the cost of the deal but Spanish media
said they would pay about 20 million euros (US$24.99 million) for
the pair who will be reunited with ex-Juve coach Fabio Capello who
took charge of the nine-times European champions this month.
Cannavaro and Emerson are the first of a number of Juventus
players expected to leave in the wake of Italy's match-fixing
scandal, which resulted in the Serie A side being stripped of their
last two league titles and relegated to the second division.
Their Juventus team-mates Gianluca Zambrotta and Lilian Thuram
are expected to join Real's arch-rivals Barcelona next week for a
combined fee of about 19 million euros (US$24 million).
Real's two new signings are the club's first since Ramon
Calderon took over as president at the beginning of the month.
Calderon originally pledged to bring AC Milan midfielder Kaka,
Chelsea winger Arjen Robben and Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas to the
Bernabeu, but resistance from these players' clubs and the arrival
of Capello saw attention switch to the Juve players.
Real are also trying to sign Manchester United's Dutch
international striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, but have had their
initial bid rejected by the English club.
Cannavaro, who turns 33 in September, led Juventus to the title
in the last two seasons and was widely regarded as the outstanding
player in Italy's triumphant World Cup campaign.
The former Napoli and Parma player produced a series of peerless
displays at the heart of Italy's superb defence, winning admiration
for his reading of the game, anticipation, athleticism and ice-cool
He was also praised for keeping the players' minds fixed on the
tournament despite the distractions of the match-fixing scandal and
produced another top drawer performance when he won his 100th cap
in the win over France in the final.
The battle-hardened 30-year-old Emerson began his career at
Botafogo and moved to Bayer Leverkusen from Gremio in 1997. He
spent three seasons with the German club before joining AS Roma,
who were coached by Capello.
He helped Roma to their first Scudetto in 18 years in 2004 and
then followed Capello to Juventus in 2004 for a fee of 28 million
euros (US$35.3 million) where he played a key role in the club's
back-to-back league titles in 2005 and 2006.
The midfielder has won 73 caps for Brazil although he missed the
2002 World Cup after dislocating his shoulder keeping goal in
training before their opening match against Turkey.
Three more signings
Real Madrid are targeting another three signings following the
arrival of Juventus pair Cannavaro and Emerson, Capello said
"We have five objectives. Two are completed and we'll have to
see how the others go. There is no rush," Capello told a news
conference at the club's training camp in Austria.
"Emerson and Cannavaro have experience and quality, are
competitive and there is no problem with their ages. Good players
can continue to perform until they are 35," Capello said.
"They will be important figures for Real and above all are team
players. The most important thing we had to do was to sign a
defender and a midfielder and now that is done."
Capello refused to be drawn on who the other signings might be
when asked if Juve's Gianluca Zambrotta was also going to join
"He is a great player but it appears that Barcelona have an
agreement with him. We are relaxed because we have Roberto Carlos
and we'll see if we can get another player instead," he added.
On Van Nistelrooy, who is also being chased by Bayern Munich,
Capello said: "We are in discussions and trying to sign him.
Everyone wants to get important players but in the end it is the
players who decide."
(China Daily July 21, 2006)