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Last Updated: Friday, 11 February, 2005, 07:21 GMT
Reyes tricked into Real admission
Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes - Action Images
Jose Antonio Reyes has added to speculation linking him with a move from Arsenal to Real Madrid after falling victim to a radio prank.

The Spaniard believed he was talking to Real Madrid sporting director Emilio Butragueno when he allegedly berated his team-mates as "bad people".

"I wish I was playing for Real Madrid," the 21-year-old told Cadena Cope.

"Hopefully it could happen. I love the way Madrid play. I'm not happy with the way things are."

The striker joined the Gunners from Seville for 17m at the start of 2004, but it has frequently been reported that he is homesick.

He began the season in superb form but has struggled to maintain his high standards as Arsenal have gradually lost the Premiership initiative to Manchester United and Chelsea.

"If I'm not (playing for Real) I'm going to have to carry on playing with some bad people," he added.

"I'm sure there are none in the Real dressing room.

"I'm happy Madrid is interested in me because it has always been my dream since I was little to play there."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger described the interview as an "easy trick" and maintains his young striker is just going through a trough of form.

"When I took him on it was for a challenge, and that means making him one of the best players in the world," he said.

"A young player will have ups and downs and he has been caught in a period when it doesn't go as well as he would wish.

"When you want a big career you have to go through periods like that, but it doesn't change my belief in him."

Before the story surfaced, Reyes had moved to play down reports linking him with the Spanish giants, issuing a statement through Arsenal describing the speculation as "flattering".

"I have seen the stories in the media linking me with Real Madrid," he had said on Thursday lunchtime.

"But not only am I under contract at Arsenal, I am happy here and committed to helping the team win more trophies."

Butragueno, meanwhile, was angry at being impersonated by the radio disc jockey.

"It is a disgrace, there is no foundation to this," he said.

"He is an Arsenal player and we have to be respectful. We have to be careful because of the rumours that appear in the news."

And Real have issued a statement denying any interest in a swap deal involving their former Liverpool striker Michael Owen and Reyes.

Reports of such an exchange deal have surfaced in recent weeks but the statement said: "Real Madrid are not considering an exchange between their player Michael Owen for the Arsenal player Jose Antonio Reyes.

"Real Madrid are delighted and satisfied with the work of the English player.

"Neither an agent nor Arsenal have been in contact with Real Madrid to present anything in this respect."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger





SEE ALSO
Wenger impressed by Reyes
11 May 04 |  Arsenal
Reyes cleared to play
30 Jan 04 |  Arsenal
Arsenal's young guns
28 Jan 04 |  Arsenal


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