Morientes not for sale, say Real Madrid
Real Madrid sought to dampen speculation
over the future of Fernando Morientes by issuing a statement saying the
striker was not for sale.
"Given the appearance of stories claiming the possibility of Fernando
Morientes leaving Real Madrid, the club have stated that they consider
him to be an important first team player," Thursday's statement said.
"Real wish to express their desire to continue counting on him as a
first team player in the immediate future. The possibility of treating
him as being on the market is ruled out."
Real took such an unusual step after Spanish media reported that
Morientes's agent had held meetings with English Premier League club
Liverpool this week.
The player himself told French sports daily l'Equipe that he had not
ruled out leaving Real in the New Year.
He added that Monaco would be his first choice for a move after top
scoring in the Champions League during the French side's run to last
Morientes returned from that loan spell after being persuaded by Real
Madrid's then coach Jose Antonio Camacho that he would be given plenty
of time on the pitch.
The arrival of England striker Michael Owen from Liverpool only
increased the competition for places, however, and since the shock
departure of Camacho Morientes has been fourth-choice striker, behind
Ronaldo, Raul and Owen.