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Deal closes: Man Utd to sell Nistelrooy to Madrid

Galacticos had been vying with Bayern Munich to sign the Dutch striker, ever since falling out with Alex Ferguson.
None | By Associated Press, Madrid (spain)
UPDATED ON JUL 27, 2006 03:19 PM IST

Manchester United has agreed to sell striker Ruud van Nistelrooy to Real Madrid for euro15 million (US$18.9 million), Spanish radio station

Cadena SER

said on Thursday. Van Nistelrooy will reportedly sign a three-year contract and be presented at Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Friday following a routine medical.

The transfer was concluded at midnight on Wednesday after negotiations throughout the day between Madrid sports director Predrag Mijatovic and United's chief executive David Gill, the station said.

The 30-year-old Dutchman was set to arrive in the Spanish capital later on Thursday and stay at the same hotel as Madrid's other recent signings -- former Juventus players Fabio Cannavaro and Emerson. Van Nistelrooy, who will reportedly be paid an annual salary of euro5 million (US$7.3 million), would team up again with David Beckham, with whom he played at United from 2001-2003.

On Wednesday, United manager Alex Ferguson said Madrid's offer remained well below United's asking price of 15 million pounds (euro21.9 million; US$27.9 million).

"Nothing has really materially changed," Ferguson told United's TV station. "They've slightly increased it but nothing really you would say -- for goodness sake, an increase of about two bob or something."

Ferguson said van Nistelrooy's sale should be at "the proper value" and compared the possible transfer with that of Andriy Shevchenko, who joined Chelsea at the end of May. "He is one of the best strikers in the country, one of the best strikers in Europe so when you think about Shevchenko going for 35 million pounds (euro51.1 million; US$65 million) _ he's a similar age group. But we know our value of the player so at the moment he is a Manchester United player."

Madrid has been vying with Bayern Munich to sign van Nistelrooy, who asked to leave United after falling out with Ferguson at the end of last season.

Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness said Tuesday his club had also lodged a new bid, also said to fall short of United's asking price. United signed van Nistelrooy in April 2001 for a then-British record fee of 19 million pounds (now euro27.7 million; US$35.3 million).

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