Footaball: Zidane set for Real switch

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THE REAL MADRID president Lorenzo Sanz confirmed yesterday his club have been offered the unsettled Juventus midfielder Zinedine Zidane, and that the Spanish giants are keen to sign him at the end of the season.

Zidane was quoted as saying on Thursday that he is considering leaving Juventus, where his contract runs through 2004, and would like to play in Spain. Sanz believes the French World Cup hero could well be playing for his side next season.

"I've asked after Zidane's condition because he has already been offered to us," Sanz said. "We like the idea of bringing him in. At the end of this season we are going to sign new players. We have the money available and there will be transfers."

Sanz has promised a revolution at Real at the end of the current season - one which has seen the club struggle in the Spanish League and exit the European Cup at the quarter-final stage - and has hinted that the poor form of the reigning European champions owes a great deal to the behaviour of some of the club's more egotistical stars.

He has indicated that Real will look to cash in on some of the big names who helped them win the European Cup last season, with the likes of the Croatian Davor Suker and Italy's Christian Panucci tipped to be leaving the capital. The defending European champions have been knocked out of all European competitions this year and are currently in fifth place in the Spanish League, 10 points behind the leaders Barcelona.

Zidane has been quoted as saying that his Spanish wife is not happy in Turin and that he will evaluate his situation at the end of the current season. "For now, I am with Juventus. For now," he said yesterday. "At the end of the season I will have to speak with [the Juventus] management and with my wife."

"When I was still in France, I said that I would like to play in Italy. In the same way, now I am saying that I would like to play in Spain.

"I don't know when, but one day I want to play in Spain."

Zidane has scored 20 goals and assisted in countless others in his 129 games with Juventus. In addition to the two domestic titles he has won with the Turin side, he has enjoyed successful campaigns in the Intercontinental Cup and the European SuperCup, as well as reaching three consecutive European Champions' Cup finals.

The 26-year-old playmaker's finest moment was at last summer's World Cup, when he headed home two goals in France's 3-0 upset of Brazil in the final.