Valdano comes clean on Dutch trio

Real Madrid director general Jorge Valdano has revealed that Arjen Robben asked to leave the the Bernabeu to join Bayern Munich this summer, but admitted that Wesley Sneijder was always destined to depart the club.

Following the expensive acquisitions of Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso, Real have been open to offers for Dutch sextuplet Sneijder, Robben, Rafael van der Vaart, Roysten Drenthe. Ruud van Nistelrooy and Klaas-Jan Huntleaar.

Huntelaar departed for AC Milan, while Sneijder and Robben joined Inter Milan and Bayern Munich respectively last week, with the former Chelsea winger linked with moves to Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Fenerbahce.

But contrary to reports, Valdano has insisted that Robben was part of coach Manuel Pellegrini's plans this season, but requested a transfer to guarantee him regular first-team football ahead of next summer's World Cup.

"He was invited to leave the club at the start of the summer after Cristiano Ronaldo signed but the coach was keen for him to stay," he told Onda Cero.

"He enjoyed the time he was given to play and even when he was not starting he still did well.

"But his father indicated his concern and asked the club to accept the offers that were coming in for the player."

Sneijder, despite being linked with a host of English clubs including Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs and Aston Villa, remained adament that he wished to stay in Madrid and fight for his place.

However, Valdano revealed that, after signing Kaka, Xabi Alonso and Cristiano Ronaldo, that was never going to become a reality.

"If Kaka joined then Sneijder would go and if Ronaldo joined then Robben would leave. That is normal thinking," he said.

"When Barca thought about signing [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic they knew that Samuel Eto'o would have to go.

"If Robben had stayed then [Gonzalo] Higuain would have found it more difficult to play often.

"Selling Sneijder was hard because he was not keen on going to Italy, but in the end he was convinced that Inter is a great club and that he would be able to play regularly there and not at Madrid."

Van der Vaart - not even handed a squad number for the 2009/10 campaign - now appears set to stay in the Spanish capital, despite being tipped to join Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs among others.

But with both Robben and Sneijder moving on in the past seven days, Valdano admitted the club now have space to accommodate the Dutchman, after originally being keen on cashing in on his services.

"Once Sneijder and Robben left I felt that Van der Vaart had a place in the squad," he said.

"It is true that for a long time, throughout the summer, we considered selling him, but at times the market means you can think again and that was important."