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Real target new striker but insist Benzema will be staying


Jose Mourinho has said Karim Benzema will not leave Real Madrid in this month's transfer window despite the imminent arrival of another striker.

Benzema has been linked with a move to England but Mourinho said: "The fact that we are talking about bringing someone else in is not because we don't want Karim, it is because, aside from him, we have no one. He is working hard for his team-mates, unselfishly bringing them into play. At the moment he is just missing that little bit of hunger to score goals."

Real have approached Germany international Miroslav Klose but are also interested in taking Emmanuel Adebayor on loan and yesterday over 8,000 supporters of 23,000 polled by Madrid paper Marca said they wanted the Manchester City striker brought in.

Real trail Barcelona by two points and play Almeria today, 24 hours before Barcelona look to establish their longest ever unbeaten run when they entertain La Liga's new-rich Malaga. Pep Guardiola's side have gone 27 matches unbeaten.

Malaga are owned by Qatari Sheikh Abdullah al-Thani and have signed five players in the transfer window. Midfielders Enzo Maresca and Ignacio Camacho, goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo and defender Martin Demichelis have all already made debuts and former Real Madrid striker Julio Baptista is expected to start against Barça.

Lionel Messi, who has scored 27 goals in 31 games after his midweek hat-trick in the Spanish Cup, admitted yesterday that he failed to mention team-mates Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta in his Ballon D'Or acceptance speech on Monday because he was stunned at being awarded the prize.

The Spaniards were favourites to win because of their World Cup success and Messi said: "I regretted it when I saw my reaction but I was so surprised that they gave the award to me. I just had a mental block."

In Italy new Internazioanle coach Leonardo will be looking to make it four wins in four tonight as his side face Bologna. They have turned their season around since Rafa Benitez's departure and could close the gap on Serie A leaders Milan, who face Lecce tomorrow.