Valdano: Real distracted by striker search

MADRID - Real Madrid's search for another striker may have distracted them and contributed to Sunday's surprise 1-1 La Liga draw at bottom side Almeria, according to director general Jorge Valdano.

The Spanish giants had to come from behind to rescue a point and champions Barcelona took full advantage by beating Malaga 4-1 to stretch their lead at the top to four points midway through the season.

"We are still working on it but we don't want to talk about the same thing every day," Valdano said in an interview with Spanish television when asked about the possibility of bringing in another striker in the January transfer window.

"Maybe we have been very distracted with his issue," the former Argentina and Real player added.

"The papers were talking only about that today on their front pages and not about the match and that probably contributed to the distraction.

"It would be better to focus on what is going on the pitch because what this team lacks is goals."

Real are looking for another centre forward because of Gonzalo Higuain's back injury which will sideline him for most of the rest of the season.

Coach Jose Mourinho said on Saturday he would be pleased if former Real striker Ruud van Nistelrooy returned to the club from Bundesliga side Hamburg SV.

However, Hamburg appear unwilling to sanction the move and sporting director Bastian Reinhardt was quoted as saying in German media that Van Nistelrooy had to see out his contract, which runs until the end of this season.

"Our decision stands, he will stay," Reinhardt said.

Local media have also linked Real with Bayern Munich's Miroslav Klose and Manchester City's Emmanuel Adebayor.