Cannavaro hints at Real exit

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The Independent Football

Fabio Cannavaro has cast doubt over the possibility of extending his contract to remain at Real Madrid beyond the end of this season.

Cannavaro, 35, is out of contract this summer and had previously discussed an extension with Ramon Calderon before the former club president's departure earlier in the year.

The Italy captain has also been linked with a return to Serie A with first club Napoli.

"The situation inside the club is complicated," he admitted.

"My renewal had nearly been resolved with Ramon Calderon, but now things are complicated and if another club is interested than I could move.

"Back to Italy? It's difficult to talk about this. The most important thing is that I still want to win.

"I need to be in a competitive league because I want to stay fit and be at a high level for the World Cup in 2010."

Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini has pledged his long-term future to the club despite being linked with more high-profile jobs.

The 55-year-old Chilean has been at the helm of the Yellow Submarine for five seasons but has no intention of leaving El Madrigal at the end of the season.

Under Pellegrini, Villarreal have become a regular top-four club in La Liga and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2006.

"I have a termination clause included in my contract which means I can leave if a team agrees to pay a sum of money, but for me this has no value because I have signed a contract and made a commitment to the club," he said.

"This is a matter of respect and I would never execute this clause to allow me to leave.

"I have had offers before and I have never had the slightest intention of listening."

Real Betis could be on the verge of a takeover by Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al-Nuaimi of the United Arab Emirates.

The ruler of Ajman, one of the seven emirates comprising the UAE, has revealed he is in advanced negations with the Andalucian club over a takeover at the Manuel Ruiz de Lopera.

"I want the fans to know that he is very interested in purchasing them and his representatives are working on the operation," said a spokesperson for the sheikh.

"There are still a number of meetings that need to take place before a final agreement can be reached. If everything goes normally, then this operation will become a reality.

"We are looking for a meeting to take place in London at the beginning of April so that we can close the matter."

Meanwhile, president Joan Laporta believes the current Barcelona team are 'worthy heirs' to the legendary side coached by Johan Cruyff.

Barca are currently on course to win the La Liga title, in the final of the Copa del Rey and have booked their place in the last eight of the Champions League.

Cruyff guided the Catalan club to their first ever European Cup success in 1992 and Laporta believes the current side has the ability to surpass even their achievements.

"The reality is surpassing all expectations," he proclaimed.

"I believe that this team are worthy heirs of the football played by the Dream Team."