Figo on Real tour but future is 'up in air'

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The Independent Online

Liverpool have been considering a move for Figo, who has one year left on his contract, and Internazionale have also joined the race to sign the 32-year-old.

Butragueno said: "Luis is an extraordinary professional and we have a very good relationship with him. He didn't play much last season but he is a winner, he wants to play. We hope that we reach an agreement that satisfies both sides."

Real have loaned Borja Fernandez to Real Mallorca for a season, and extended the contracts of former youth team players Alvaro Arbeloa, Ruben de la Red and Diego Lopez.

Borja, 24, a versatile midfielder, will not be allowed to play against his former club during his stint with the islanders. The right-back Arbeloa, the midfielder De la Red and goalkeeper Lopez, who were all under contract until 2007, have extended their deals with Real until 2009.

Elsewhere in Spain, the Brazil striker Ewerthon was unveiled by Real Zaragoza yesterday after joining the Primera Liga side on a five-year deal from Borussia Dortmund.

The 24-year-old, who joined Dortmund from Corinthians in September 2001 for £1.97m, said he saw the move as a step forward in his career and hoped it would help him regain a place in the Brazil squad for next year's World Cup.

Ewerthon, who scored 10 goals for Dortmund last season and 16 in the previous campaign, was presented to the media alongside the former Barcelona striker Sergio Garcia.

The two men will be given the task of replacing leading striker David Villa, who scored 32 goals in two seasons before leaving Zaragoza for Valencia at the end of last month.

A Sparta Rotterdam player who broke an opponent's leg during a match last December is to be prosecuted for assault.

The Sparta forward Rachid Bouaouzan was banned for 12 matches by the Dutch football association after being sent off following the incident in which Go Ahead Eagles player Niels Kokmeijer suffered a double leg fracture.

A spokesman for the Dutch public prosecutor's office said that while the football body's powers to discipline players were sufficient, the foul committed by 21-year-old Bouaouzan was so serious that further action was required. Kokmeijer spent a long period in hospital following the injury and may never be able to play football again.

Bouaouzan's lawyer, Chrisje Zuur, said that she would make clear in the trial, which is due to start later this month, that "there was no intent whatsoever on the part of my client".

The maximum sentence for serious assault is eight years in prison, a prosecution spokesman said. There is no minimum sentence.

Sparta Rotterdam, who sealed promotion to the top flight of Dutch football in June, declined to comment.

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