Torres blasts Spanish clubs over foreign imports

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The Independent Football

Fernando Torres has slammed Spanish clubs for shunning homegrown players in favour of more expensive foreign imports.

In a thinly-veiled attack on Real Madrid, the former Atletico Madrid striker has spoken of his dismay that Spanish players are ignored in favour of high-profile overseas signings.

Real are poised to complete the world record £80million transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United just days after agreeing to pay AC Milan £59million for Brazil star Kaka.

The Liverpool and Spain striker said: "In Spain we still don't value the players that we have.

"We have the best national team in the world and a lot of money would be spent on our players, but Spanish clubs don't do it. They would only do it for foreign players."

Meanwhile, Villarreal president Fernando Roig has confirmed that his club will be operating on a reduced budget next season.

The Yellow Submarine will be coached by Ernesto Valverde following Manuel Pellegrini's departure to Real Madrid and the newly-installed tactician has already been told that his playing budget will be reduced by 15 per cent from that of this year.

"The idea is to reduce expenses and the first step to that is to adjust the budget," confirmed Roig.

"Some financial assets that we had before are no longer worth as much now, therefore we have to balance.

"Now is when we have to work more, to be more imaginative and fight for making a better team that is less expensive. I am optimistic and I believe we can do it."

Atletico Madrid captain Maxi Rodriguez has urged his club to retain their star players if they are serious about maintaining their forward momentum.

Several key players - including strikers Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan - have already been linked with summer moves away from the Vicente Calderon and Rodriguez is concerned about possible departures.

"If we want to fight at the top of the table next season we have to hold onto our stars," warned the Argentina international.

"I believe that today, the ones that control the team are the front four, they are the ones who score the most goals."

Meanwhile, Rodriguez has dismissed recent reports which claimed he was interested in a return to Argentina this close-season with former club Newell's Old Boys.

He added: "I would like to go back, one must see how everything goes. I still have a year left with Atletico but we will see what happens. I am very pleased and happy here."