Real Madrid agreed to sign highly-rated Argentine midfielder
Fernando Gago from Boca Juniors on Thursday on a
"Real and Boca have agreed a deal over the transfer of Fernando
Gago," the Primera Liga club said on their Web site
(www.realmadrid.com). "The player will sign until June 30,
Boca said the Spanish giants had bowed to their demands for a
fee of $27 million (about 20.5 million euros).
The recruitment of the 20-year-old, who will be unveiled to the
media at 1200 local time on Friday, is part of the club's policy of
rejuvenating their squad with South American players.
Gago's signing follows that of teenage striker Gonzalo Higuain,
who joined Real last week for a fee of around 13 million euros and
was presented on Thursday.
Real have also bought Brazilian fullback Marcelo from Fluminense
for a fee between six and nine million euros to act as cover for
33-year-old Roberto Carlos.
Gago, a member of the Boca team pipped to the Apertura
championship by Estudiantes last week, has a similar style to
Argentine midfielder Fernando Redondo, who played for Real between
1994 and 2000.
He is the eighth player to join Real since Ramon Calderon took
over as president in July and brings the club's expenditure since
then to close to 100 million euros.
Close-season recruits included recently crowned World and
European Footballer of the Year Fabio Cannavaro, Brazilian
midfielder Emerson, Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, Mali
international Mahamadou Diarra and Spain winger Jose Antonio
Third-placed Real, who have not won a major trophy for three
seasons, were trounced 3-0 at home by promoted Recreativo Huelva on
Wednesday and are five points behind leaders Sevilla.
No second thoughts
Higuain was 'presented' by Real on Thursday and said he had no
second thoughts about joining the club after watching their
humiliating midweek defeat.
"These things can happen and it doesn't change the way I think
about coming here," the 19-year-old former River Plate striker told
a news conference.
"I don't want to say anything negative about the game. Real
Madrid have a great squad full of great players and I've come here
to win lots of league titles."
The teenager said he was not intimidated by the competition he
would face at his new club where he will be battling it out with
Ronaldo, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Robinho and Raul for a place in the
"I'm not scared at all. All I want to do is to convince the
coach and my team mates through my hard work that I'm worth a place
in the squad. I will be doing all I can to learn from the great
players around me," he said.
Higuain shot to prominence last May when he scored twice as
River Plate beat Corinthians 3-1 to knock the Brazilian champions
out of the Libertadores Cup.
He struck twice more in a 3-1 win over arch-rivals Boca Juniors
in October and notched a spectacular goal in a 1-1 draw at Velez
Sarsfield earlier this month to end the Argentine championship as
his club's top scorer with nine goals.
Higuain's father Jorge played professional football in France
for Brest where Gonzalo was born in 1987.
Higuain was 10 months old when he moved to Argentina with his
family and has lived there ever since.
Last month he was called up by France coach Raymond Domenech for
a friendly against Greece but his father sent the French Federation
a fax saying he did not want to play for the country for the time
The player would not make any commitments about whether his
future loyalties lay with France or Argentina.
"I don't know at the moment," he said when asked which country
he would prefer to play for. "I'm just trying to take things one
day at a time and concentrate on playing football and leave the
rest up to my representative."
(China Daily via Reuters December 22, 2006)