Real look for alternatives after failure to get Vieira
Real Madrid coach Jose Antonio Camacho is
looking for options to strengthen his defence after failing to prise
midfielder Patrick Vieira away from Arsenal.
"It's obvious that Vieira would have given us extra power in the
midfield," Camacho told Spanish sports daily AS on Monday. "He's an
outstanding ball-winner, especially in the air from goal kicks and he's
got great physical strength.
"Right now Real are probably not as physically strong as their opponents
and that is something we've got to improve.
"We will now have to solve the problem by alternative means because our
squad is too thin," he said.
Camacho spent the weekend in Ibiza on club president Florentino Perez's
yacht to discuss which defenders they would try to recruit.
Spanish newspapers say Inter Milan defender and Italy captain Fabio
Cannavaro is top of their list and Argentine centre back Fabricio
Coloccini also one of their targets.
Unable to complete the Vieira deal, Real president Florentino Perez
instead opted to sign another forward in England striker Michael Owen
Camacho made it clear that strengthening the Real attack had not been
one of his priorities but said that the addition of the former European
footballer of the year would keep the rest of the strikers on their toes.
"Owen will make Real more complete and any player of his quality will
always be welcome at the club. The presence of Owen will mean there is
even more competition for places and the players will be more anxious to
Brazilian striker Ronaldo and Spanish internationals Raul and Fernando
Morientes will be fighting it out with the former Liverpool striker for
the two berths in the Real attack.
The Real Madrid coach also said he expected Owen's England colleague
David Beckham to improve after a disappointing end to his first season
at the club.
"I am sure he will give a lot more," he said. "He's now adapted to the
country, to its customs and to his team mates. He's much more integrated.
"But now he even understands me when I say things in Spanish. The only
thing that bothers him are the paparazzi, who won't leave him alone, but
he is able to stand up to it."