Barcelona may drop out of Villa race

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has admitted his club's interest in Valencia striker David Villa is waning.

Barca and Real Madrid are keen to sign the freescoring Spain international this summer, but Laporta has warned Valencia that they will not pay over the odds for the 27-year-old striker.

"We will make the changes we have to make, but the players that are interesting to us, we must get them under reasonable conditions," he said.

"I have always said that Villa is a player that could interest us under some specific conditions but these have not been met.

"So we will have to activate other options that are just as valid and we will evaluate which of them can come under the conditions that are interesting to us."

Meanwhile, Real Madrid captain Raul has likened Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival at the club with that of David Beckham.

Ronaldo has joined the Spanish giants in a world record £80million transfer from Manchester United this summer and Raul has drawn parallels with the 2003 arrival of the former England captain.

"I was as excited when Beckham started to play with us as I am with the arrival of Cristiano," Raul said. "I was very happy when I worked with Beckham and I think Cristiano is going to bring a lot of happiness to all the supporters.

"He will bring very good things and make a great contribution to the team.

"There are not many Cristiano Ronaldos in the world and Real Madrid has made a great financial effort, but Real Madrid wants the best team in the world."

Elsewhere, Didier Zokora will be presented to the media as a Sevilla player on Wednesday after passing a medical at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Sevilla agreed a fee in the region of £8million with Tottenham Hotspur for the Ivory Coast international last week.

Personal terms were agreed on Monday and the midfielder underwent medical tests on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old will join compatriots Arouna Kone and Ndri Romaric at the Andalucian club.

Huntelaar close to Stuttgart deal

Stuttgart are in advanced negotiations with Real Madrid over the proposed transfer of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

The Netherlands striker scored eight goals in 20 appearances for the Spanish club after arriving in £15million January deal from Ajax.

But after falling victim to Real's major summer spending spree, Huntelaar is close to leaving the Bernabeu.

"Madrid are in advanced negotiations with Stuttgart and the best thing to do was to find a solution," revealed sporting director Miguel Pardeza.

"It's in his position that the team have made the most reinforcements.

"I think it's important that the player can continue his career.

"He's young and next year there is a World Cup and I believe that any player who has limited chances has to look for a way so they can continue making progress as a professional."

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich general manager Uli Hoeness has warned potential suitors that not even a bid of 70million euros will persuade them to sell Franck Ribery.

Ribery's future has been the subject of intense speculation throughout the summer with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Chelsea all rumoured to be interested in the France star.

Bayern have sent out mixed messages about his futures in recent weeks, but Hoeness has now attempted to draw a line under the whole saga after claiming the winger will definitely be staying at the Allianz Arena.

"He will certainly stay," he claimed.

"We are not prepared to talk, not even for 70million euros or more."

Elsewhere, general manager Klaus Allofs has urged Werder Bremen fans not to expect too much too soon from new signing Marko Marin.

The Germany Under-21 international midfielder has been signed to help fill the void created by Brazil playmaker Diego's departure to Juventus.

But Allofs is wary of over-burdening the talented 20-year-old with expectation.

"We are not expecting him to change the world," he claimed. "He has played a couple times for the German national team and did not do too bad there.

"So Marko is already more than just a talent. But it's something else if you play strong matches in Gladbach or with Werder, where you regularly have to show a high level at the international stage.”

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