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Page last updated at 13:55 GMT, Monday, 22 December 2008

Real Madrid unveil new boy Diarra

Lassana Diarra
Diarra will wear the name 'Lass' on the back of his shirt

Real Madrid have paraded Lassana Diarra after he passed a medical and prepared to seal a 20m switch from Portsmouth.

The 23-year-old France midfielder has agreed to sign a four-and-a-half-year deal at the Bernabeu.

Diarra will officially become a Real player when the transfer window reopens on 1 January.

He said: "I feel capable. I have the abilities and I think Real Madrid is what I needed. I need to adapt to the Spanish game and do it quickly."

Diarra added: "I've played with big clubs, got good experience with the French national team and I still want to improve."

He has been compared to former France international Claude Makelele, who also played for Real Madrid.

But Diarra stated: "It's true there are similarities but Makelele is Makelele and I am me.


"Makelele has his own personal style and I have my own. I'm going to Madrid to be Lassana Diarra and to show what I can do."

Real moved to sign Diarra after his namesake Mahamadou Diarra was ruled out for the season.

The new signing will wear the name 'Lass' on the back of his shirt.

Diarra started his career with Le Havre before signing for Chelsea in 2005.

He moved to the Gunners on the final day of the August 2007 transfer window but left for Pompey five months later.

"We have always said that we would only allow our players to leave if we received an exceptional bid," a Pompey spokesman told the club's website earlier in the week.

Diarra is a special talent - Redknapp

"We could not stand in the way of a move such as this for Lassana.

"It shows how far the club has come under the ownership of Alexandre Gayadamak when Real Madrid come in for one of our players."

Pompey boss Tony Adams claims he will have all of the money from Diarra's sale to sign new players.

"It's a substantial offer. Every penny is mine, and I had money before that, so I am delighted," confirmed Adams last week.

"Every decision at this club will be through me and when Real Madrid offers a lot of money for one of your players I have a decision to make.

"The lad wants to play for Real Madrid and it's a magnificent offer that will get me some recruitments for Portsmouth."

Adams on decision to play Diarra

Diarra came on as a substitute in Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Bolton to make his first appearance since 15 November following an ankle injury.

Real are now coached by former Tottenham boss Juande Ramos and want a defensive midfielder because Mali international Mahamadou Diarra is sidelined for the season after undergoing knee surgery.

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see also
Bolton 2-1 Portsmouth
20 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Portsmouth 3-0 Heerenveen
18 Dec 08 |  Europe
Diarra close to Pompey comeback
11 Dec 08 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth clinch Diarra signing
17 Jan 08 |  Portsmouth
Arsenal take Diarra from Chelsea
31 Aug 07 |  Arsenal

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