Real wanted to sign me ahead of Adebayor, claims Forlan

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The Independent Football

Real Madrid only moved to sign Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor after having an offer for Diego Forlan turned down by their neighbours Atletico Madrid, it was revealed yesterday.

Forlan claimed Real had bid for him before switching their attention to Adebayor, who is expected to start on the bench against Osasuna tomorrow, having not trained yesterday.

Forlan said: "It is true that the club called [Atletico's general manager] Miguel Angel Gil who said I was not for sale, rejecting the offer they had made. He then contacted my representative to communicate what had taken place and the decision that had been made."

The Real Madrid coach, Jose Mourinho, wants Adebayor to travel with the squad to Pamplona for the game against Osasuna despite the fact the striker has just returned from England, where he collected personal belongings from his home in Manchester, meaning he missed yesterday morning's training session.

Adebayor looks set to wear Real's No 23 shirt, the number previously worn by David Beckham, Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart. Its most recent occupier, Mesut Ozil, takes the No 10 shirt vacated by Lassana Diarra who will wear the Monaco-bound Mahamadou Diarra's No 6.

Adebayor admitted he almost signed for Barcelona when he left Arsenal but confirmed he wants to make his stay in the Spanish capital permanent. "The chance to play for Madrid was one I could not turn down and now I want to stay here for many years," he said.

In Italy, Serie A leaders Milan travel to Catania tonight with Mark van Bommel and Urby Emanuelson set to make their league debuts. The pair will step into a midfield missing the injured Gennaro Gattuso and Clarence Seedorf.