Valdano: Real to sell at least five players

MADRID - Real Madrid need to sell at least five players to raise the cash to fund more signings, the club's director general Jorge Valdano said on Monday. Under new president Florentino Perez, Real have spent more than 200 million euros over the past month, including a record 93 million euros on Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo and 67 million on Brazilian playmaker Kaka. "We need money to continue being active in the market. And at the moment to get money we have to sell players," Valdano said in an interview with Reuters at the club's offices in the Bernabeu stadium. "We need to trim at least five players from the squad. The priority over the next few weeks is the sale of players and not the signing of new ones." Real have six Dutch players, including strikers Ruud van Nistelrooy and Klaas Jan Huntelaar, winger Arjen Robben and midfielder Wesley Sneijder in their ranks, and Spanish media have speculated that several may leave. Huntelaar, who only arrived in the Spanish capital during the last winter transfer window, has been linked with Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart, although he is reportedly unhappy with their wage offer. "Things are progressing with some players," Valdano said when asked how talks on potential sales were going. "But a bit of calm is needed in some cases because we have to complete the negotiations with the clubs." Ideally, Real would raise enough money to buy another central midfielder and a defender, he said, and hinted that Sneijder could stay on for this season. "We need two players for each position," he said. "There are some positions where we have four players and others where we have one. Sneijder is a player that at the moment is important for the club." "FOOTBALL FICTION" Valdano said it was "football fiction" to think that Real would ever attempt to lure Argentina winger Lionel Messi from arch rivals Barcelona. "At the moment we have not thought about any (Barca) player," he said. "We are involved in another kind of analysis. We have no intention of talking about any Barcelona player." Valdano also addressed criticism of Real's policy of spending huge sums on star players. He noted that Perez had doubled revenues and made Real the world's richest club by bringing in "galacticos" like David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane during his first term in 2000-2006. "When a name like Kaka or Cristiano Ronaldo arrives at a club a virtuous circle is created which is positive in both economic and sporting terms," he said. "We are hoping for the same effect this time around. I think it's time that Real Madrid was considered a model to follow and not something that needs combatting." He said he was confident the new signings would help boost revenue, even in a time of severe global recession. "You have to respond in some way to the crisis. Sometimes these situations create great opportunities. Probably without the crisis we would not have been able to sign Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka." NEWS: Perez: Two more in and 10 out for Real NEWS: Tottenham set for Huntelaar talks NEWS: Ruud recommends Dutch flee Madrid NEWS: Spurs ready to swap Roman for Ruud? NEWS: Blackburn eye Ruud swoop NEWS: Sneijder to survive Real cull