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Last Updated: Friday, 20 August, 2004, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Real Madrid sign Woodgate
Jonathan Woodgate in action for Newcastle
Real Madrid have signed Jonathan Woodgate from Newcastle for 13.4m.

There had been concerns the 24-year-old defender, sidelined with a thigh injury since April, would not pass his medical at the Bernabeu on Friday.

But the centre-back, who played in 37 out of 128 possible games during his time at Newcastle, has signed a four-year contract with Real.

Woodgate, expected to earn 80,000 per week, joins England team-mates David Beckham and Michael Owen at the club.

Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson admitted he could not blame the player for accepting the move.

"I don't blame Jonathan in a way because he's going to arguably the biggest club in the world, I think, at this moment," said the Magpies boss.

"The power of Figo and Ronaldo, Zidane, then Beckham and now Owen. If you were in his shoes, what would you do?

"This is an extreme, exceptional offer which basically we had to take.

"No-one is pleased that he's gone because we know what we've lost. At his best, he's the best in the country."

A Newcastle spokesman confirmed: "Newcastle United and Real Madrid wish to announce that terms have been agreed for the transfer of Jonathan Woodgate.

"The player passed his medical examination and will join Real Madrid on a four-year contract, plus an optional one year."

Leeds would not stand to make any money from the deal, as BBC Sport can confirm they did not negotiate a sell-on clause when they sold Woodgate.

Injury-prone Woodgate suffered various injuries during his time at Newcastle after joining from Leeds in January 2003.

The player arrived in Madrid on a flight from Munich where he had a consultation with a German specialist over the thigh injury which has kept him out of action since April.

But Real Madrid appear convinced the problem will clear up and coach Jose Antonio Camacho has brought in Woodgate, as well as Roma's Walter Samuel, to bolster his defence.

Magpies chairman Freddy Shepherd said the deal was completed from start to finish very quickly.

"Real Madrid called us on Monday with an offer for Jonathan, and since then the transfer has followed the normal course of any deal," Shepherd told the club's official website.

"The first we knew of any interest was when Madrid's representative called us on Monday. To suggest otherwise is complete rubbish, and it's certainly not about the money.

"We did not want Jonathan to leave Newcastle United, but you have to look at it from both sides. Real Madrid are the biggest club in the world - that's a fact.

"Jonathan has said that Real Madrid would have been the only club he'd have left Newcastle United for - he certainly wouldn't have joined another Premiership club."





SEE ALSO
Owen joins Madrid training
19 Aug 04  |  Europe


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