Drenthe seals Alania Vladikavkaz switch

Alania Vladikavkaz have confirmed on their official website that they have secured the services of former Real Madrid winger Royston Drenthe on a free transfer.

The Netherlands international had been without a club ever since leaving Everton last summer after an unsuccessful one-year loan spell, and will now be looking to get his career back on track at the Russian outfit.

Drenthe, 25, has signed a contract wit Alania until the summer of 2016.

“We hope that he will become one of the team’s leaders. We did not only bring him in for his fine technique and pace, but also because of his personality,” head coach Valery Gazzaev commented on the move.

The left-footed winger came through the ranks of the Feyenoord youth academy, and joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2007 after impressing at the European Under-21 Championship.

He has since had temporary loan spells with Hercules and Everton.

Callejon: Real Madrid players receive racist insults

Jose Callejon has revealed that Real Madrid players are often the victims of racial abuse, and fears that it will be difficult to completely kick racism out of the game.

Barcelona defender Dani Alves complained about racist insults after Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Callejon has revealed that the Brazil international is not the only player in La Liga who has to deal with the matter.

“Real Madrid is one of the clubs that has been on the receiving end of the most racist insults. It has happened to us and it is a problem that cannot be completely stamped out,” the versatile attacker said at a press conference.

“It happened to [Kevin-Prince] Boateng in Italy and it is a matter of serious concern which we all hope will die out one day once and for all.”

Fifa president Sepp Blatter recently stressed that national football associations should punish racism harshly, saying that deducting points and relegating a team would be a good sanction.

Knowing Messi, I doubt he waited to abuse anyone, says Gaspart

Former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart has leapt to the defence of Lionel Messi after accusations aimed at the Argentine from Real Madrid’s Jose Maria Callejon.

The Madrid winger accused Messi of waiting for over an hour after Wednesday’s Copa del Rey clash just to insult los Blancos assistant coach Aitor Karanka and defender Alvaro Arbeloa.

However, Gaspart doubts Callejon’s story, saying it is not line with Messi’s character and behaviour.

“Knowing Messi, who is polite and behaves appropriately on and off the pitch, I very much doubt that he would want to have waited just so he could insult someone,” Gaspart told Sport.

“We just have to concentrate on ourselves and prepare for the next game. Others will say whatever they want.

“In theory, an away draw is always good and more so if the rival is Madrid. However, in the return leg we still have to win no matter what.”

Gaspart also praised Carles Puyol’s reaction to team-mate Gerard Pique’s attempt to halt the game after a lighter was thrown on to the pitch from the home crowd.

“The attitude of Puyol to get rid of the lighter was the right thing to do,” he continued.

“There is already enough tension in this country and now football is no longer any different.”

Alcaraz delighted at facing Real Madrid on Granada debut

New Granada head coach Lucas Alcaraz is looking forward to making his debut against Real Madrid.

The much-travelled tactician took over from Juan Antonio Anquela this week as the club attempt to rectify their season and stave off the threat of relegation.

Alcaraz, who arrives after a stint with Aris in Greece, returns to the club he left 15 years ago and is excited to be facing Real Madrid on his debut match.

“To start at home, against Madrid in the Primera Division – you cannot pick a better script. What we face is well known,” the 46-year-old told reporters today.

“I have lacked the time to do what I intended so far. Madrid will be a tough opponent, player for player. But I prefer to think of our chances.

“We have to have the motivation of the players to address the lack of time we have had to prepare a new playing model.

“When there is a change on the bench there is always a reaction. Everyone tries to show more intensity and interest. We lack the hours to work with what we have in mind, but I see the determination.

“It is one thing to want to convey this and another to translate it. Within this framework is also the experience and motivation of the players.

“We have to defend as a team. We cannot think of a specific player [in reference to Cristiano Ronaldo]. Broadly speaking, we want a team that does not give up on any facet of the game.

“We intend to take the initiative in games and be an organised team. We need to improve our concentration, attention and individual responsibility.”

Granada will host Real Madrid in La Liga on Saturday night and will have to greatly improve on their home form which has seen them pick up just two wins from 10 outings if they are to come away with anything against Jose Mourinho’s men.

Jordi Alba: I have scars from Essien challenge

Jordi Alba has revealed that Michael Essien’s challenge on his during Barcelona’s Clasico clash with Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey.

The Ghanaian appeared to go in studs-up on the former Valencia full-back, who accepts that matches between the two rivals are difficult for officials to control.

“Yes I still have the scars, but I’m not going to show them.” Alba told reporters.

“I’m also a player that can get hot headed very quickly and then I’m fine again. At the end of the day everyone has their own way of playing. There is tension in these games.

“It’s a very difficult game to referee this game. But we are not looking back on it; we are focused on getting the ball and trying to score as many goals.”

The Spain international went on to reveal that he is looking forward to returning to Mestalla for the first time this weekend following his move from los Che to Camp Nou last summer.

“I’m very eager to return to Mestalla. Valencia gave me the opportunity to play in Primera Division and gave me the chance to be the player I am today.

“I’m very grateful and I’m looking forward to seeing the people and fans.”