Football: Macca in move to Real Madrid
Saturday 30 January 1999
The Liverpool forward with the shaggy hairstyle, jinking runs and inconsistent goalscoring record, had his future settled in discussions in Spain between his representative, Simon Fuller, and Madrid officials last night.
McManaman, who will undergo a medical on Monday, is to sign a pre-contract ahead of joining the Spanish club on 1 July. The move follows an ultimatum Real gave the England player to commit himself to them rather than wait for a move to Italy. Liverpool will not receive any transfer fee because of the Bosman ruling. McManaman is out of contract at Anfield on the last day of June.
"I am extremely sad to be leaving Liverpool," said McManaman, whose contract is for five years with an annual package worth pounds 2.6m a year, or pounds 50,000 a week. "It was such a tough decision because I have been here 12 years, but I have always stated that I wanted to play in Europe at some stage.
"At 27, now is the right time. Real Madrid are the European and world champions and this is a chance to test myself in a top European league.
"It was a difficult decision but in the end I thought it was something I had to do."
Jan Molby, the former Liverpool midfielder, expects no backlash from Liverpool fans. "They will respect his decision," he said. "If they had been in the same situation, they might have been looking at the same opportunities as well."
The Bootle-born McManaman landed his jackpot salary with Real only two days after another former Anfield trainee, Robbie Fowler, agreed a new five-year contract with the club. Jason McAteer, however, decided on Thursday that his future lay with Blackburn and duly moved for pounds 4m.
McManaman, capped at youth, Under-21 and 22 times at full level by England, joined his home town club from school and signed professional forms in 1990 after Liverpool's last championship success.
He made his debut against Sheffield United in December of that year but since then has only won the FA Cup in 1992 and the League Cup three years later. He scored both goals in the 2-1 win over Bolton Wanderers at Wembley in 1995.
McManaman played a leading role as England reached the semi-finals of Euro 96, but after fighting back from injury problems made only one appearance as a substitute during the World Cup finals in France last year.
Injury has blighted his progress since then, and with Liverpool again struggling in the title race, McManaman has finally confirmed the speculation linking him with a move to Spain which began last October.
McManaman's capture is a major coup for Real, with Barcelona and Juventus also in the hunt. Lorenzo Sanz, Real's president, has been frustrated by his team's performances this season. They are sixth in the Spanish championship, three points behind the leaders Barcelona, and lost 4-0 at Deportivo La Coruna last Sunday.
Latest in Sport
Radamel Falcao latest: Manchester City bookies favourite but Arsenal also interested as Monaco put £20m loan fee on Colombian striker
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger says he will be 'actively involved' on deadline day... but may not buy a striker despite Giroud injury
Mario Balotelli has been 'spoken to at length' and Liverpool have ensured he lives on Merseyside rather than Manchester
Tottenham vs Liverpool: Hugo Lloris expects Spurs to wipe away shame of 4-0 and 5-0 defeats last season
Tim Sherwood column: I've been impressed with my Tottenham successor Mauricio Pochettino
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 3 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 4 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...
£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...