Real Madrid to unveil James Rodriguez on Tuesday

The European champions have sealed a deal for the Colombia international, who claimed the Golden Boot at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil


James Rodriguez will be unveiled as a Real Madrid player at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.

The European champions made the Colombia international their principle transfer target on the back of the 23-year-old’s stellar performances for his country at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, with the attacking midfielder winning the Golden Boot after netting six times in just five games.

Madrid reached an agreement with Monaco over an €88 million transfer fee over the weekend and finalised personal terms with the player and his representatives on Monday.

James will now be presented to the press and Madrid fans on Tuesday, with the construction of a special stage for the ceremony at the Bernabeu already well under way.

The club have also confirmed on their official website that the official stadium tour will not follow the usual route on the morning of June 22 as the Presidential Balcony, where Madrid signings usually make their first appearance, will be off limits to the public.

Meanwhile, the Liga outfit are also still hoping to persuade Monaco to part company with another Colombia international, Radamel Falcao.

Indeed, los Blancos have already made a breakthrough in their bid to bring the former Atletico attacker back to the Spanish capital, but the proposed transfer hinges upon Madrid’s medical department declaring themselves satisfied with the striker’s recovery from cruciate ligament surgery earlier this year.

The James deal is also likely to leave Isco surplus to requirements at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Spain international only joined Los Blancos from Malaga last summer but, after struggling to nail down a regular berth in Carlo Ancelotti’s starting line-up, could be offloaded, with Premier League outfit Liverpool closely monitoring the playmaker’s current situation.

Torres would be welcome back at Atletico Madrid, says Garcia

The 30-year-old Chelsea striker has attracted interest from his former club and Inter and has been hailed as a “great player” by the Spanish midfielder


Atletico Madrid’s Raul Garcia insists Chelsea striker Fernando Torres would be welcome back at the Vicente Calderon.

The 30-year-old has attracted interest from his former club and Inter, although Goal understands that the striker is not prepared to leave Stamford Bridge – despite Diego Costa’s arrival.

Atletic boss Diego Simeone has already bolstered his attack with the signing of Mario Mandzukic from Bayern Munich but Garcia believes Torres would strengthen the Spanish champions even further.

“I speak to him [Torres] a lot and he still feels very strongly about this club,” Garcia told reporters.

“His life has been defined by what he experienced here and he is another option just like any other that the media have mentioned.

“Any great player that can come here will be welcome.”

Agger considering Liverpool future


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Dnipro's Konoplyanka still open to West Ham switch

EXCLUSIVE: The 24-year-old is interested in talking to the Hammers if they are able to match the Ukrainian side’s €15 milliion valuation of their star man

By Liam Twomey

Yevhen Konoplyanka is open to a move to West Ham should they return with an improved bid for the Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk star, Goal understands.

The Hammers saw an offer of €12 million (£9.5m) rejected by the Ukrainian giants a fortnight ago and are yet to indicate whether they will increase their offer for the 24-year-old.

Dnipro are adamant they will not sell Konoplyanka for any less than his release clause of €15m (£12m), despite the player having just one year remaining on his contract.

Konoplyanka sees his future away from Dnipro if the right move presents itself and is interested in talking to West Ham if they are able to match his valuation.

But if nothing materialises this summer, Goal understands the 24-year-old is willing to wait and settle his future in January, when he can negotiate a pre-contract agreement with any interested club. 

Konoplyanka, who impressed for Ukraine against England during qualification for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, was courted by both Tottenham and Liverpool in January, though neither have followed up their interest in recent weeks.

Liverpool came closest to signing the 24-year-old but the move fell through despite prolonged negotiations on deadline day, with Konoplyanka afterwards admitting to feeling “resentment” over the breakdown of the deal.

Puyol: No defence for Suarez bite

The retired centre-half says that while nobody can condone the Uruguay international’s actions, the fact that the forward has apologised should be taken into consideration


Former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has acknowledged that “there is no justification” for Luis Suarez’s bite on Giorgio Chiellini during this summer’s World Cup – but argued that such things can happen when players lose their heads.

Suarez was hit with a nine-game international ban and also suspended from all football-related activity for four months for sinking his teeth into Chiellini’s shoulder during Uruguay’s Group D clash with Italy in Natal on June 24.

Despite the striker’s actions, Barcelona still opted to sign the 27-year-old from Liverpool for a reported €88 million – a move that Puyol is fully supportive of, given the South American’s incredible talent.

“There is no justification for what Suarez did, but things like that occur when you lose your head – it can happen,” the former Spain international told Fifa’s official website.

“At any rate, he has apologised for it. He’s a great footballer, extremely competitive and scores a great deal.

“I think he can bring a lot to an attack that’s already brimming with quality. With Luis, we can be even stronger.”

Of course, Puyol’s retirement at the end of last season has left Barca with other issues to address at the other end of the field.

The 36-year-old freely admits that the Catalans have repeatedly failed to strengthen their back four in recent seasons but argues that it is particularly difficult for the Blaugrana to find suitable reinforcements given their propensity for playing a high defensive line.

“For some time now Barca have been looking for centre-backs,” he mused. “Then again, so has half of Europe, so it’s not easy – even less so for us, given our style of play.

“To represent Barcelona, it’s not enough to possess technique and the ability to come out with the ball, you also need to have pace, as we defend so far from our goal.

“When you look over your shoulder and realise just how far out you are, you feel dizzy sometimes!”