Football: Macca in move to Real Madrid

STEVE McMANAMAN will become a Real Madrid player - and the best paid British footballer in history - this summer.

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.

News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003