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Real Madrid fail with UEFA appeal over Diarra and Huntelaar

Real Madrid have been knocked back by Uefa in their bid to register both Lassana Diarra and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to play in the Champions League knockout stages.

Real had hoped to overturn a rule which stipulated that only one player who has already played in a European competition other than the Champions League can be registered.

Both January signings Diarra and Huntelaar had featured in the Uefa Cup for their previous clubs for Portsmouth and Ajax respectively.

But Uefa have rejected Real's appeal and now the Spanish side must decide which player to register for the remainder of this season's competition.

Coach Juande Ramos is believed to favour adding Diarra to his depleted midfield options.

"Uefa confirmed that its Control and Disciplinary Body has reviewed the request of Real Madrid to be able to register two players who have already competed in Uefa competition this season as part of their A-list squad for the knockout rounds of the Uefa Champions League," read a statement.

"The European body confirms that this was rejected in accordance with article 17.18 in the competition regulations which states that only one player who has played Uefa club competition matches for another competing club in the current season may exceptionally be registered. Any appeal to this decision will be heard next week."

Madrid could now take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

At Sevilla, coach Manolo Jimenez has accused the club's supporters of unrealistic expectations after coming under pressure in recent weeks.

Jimenez's future at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan is reported to be under threat following the club's exit from the Uefa Cup at the group stage in December.

The Andalucian club are faring better in the league as they currently occupy fourth place in the La Liga table and Jimenez has suggested that the club's supporters are suffering from delusions of grandeur.

"Sevilla cannot think that they are going to win the league losing six matches, or win the Copa Del Rey playing excellent football," he mused. "We have gone several seasons with the best through hard work and effort. This season Barcelona have excelled and if nothing strange happens, they have a great chance to win the league."

Meanwhile, Villarreal are reported to have rejected a loan offer from Everton for teenage striker Jozy Altidore.

The 19-year-old American has yet to break into the first-team picture at El Madrigal as he is behind the likes of Giuseppe Rossi, Nihat Kahveci, Guillermo Franco and Joseba Llorente in the pecking order.

He has made just a handful of appearances for Villarreal since arriving from New York Red Bulls last summer.

However, Villarreal president Fernando Roig has rejected an approach from the Premier League side to sign Altidore on loan until the end of the season.