New president says Galacticos must come into the Real world

REAL MADRID’S new president, Fernando Martin, issued a stern warning to his players yesterday that those not committed to the cause would be unwelcome at the club.

“I don’t want a team of millionaires. I want a team of marvellous sportsmen who work 24 hours a day to achieve the best for our fans,” Martin said. “Those players who think they can stay here giving only the minimum amount of effort are wrong. Those who fight and sweat for the shirt know they will have mine and the club’s full support.

“I am not afraid to take tough decisions if people don’t give their all for Real Madrid.”

Martin’s predecessor Florentino Perez resigned after six years at the helm on Monday, saying one of the reasons for his disillusionment was the lack of commitment shown by some players. The Spanish press has, in particular, called into question the attitude of Brazil striker Ronaldo after he criticised fans last week the day before the 1-0 Champions League defeat at home by Arsenal.

Since then both Sergio Ramos and Raul have hinted that unity within the team is not as strong as it should be.

“I will set up an independent commission to evaluate the effort of each of the players, and their sporting and personal conduct,” he added.

Martin’s tough stance is bound to win favour with the club’s fans. Although a close ally of Perez’s in the past he said he would not be constrained by his predecessor’s former policies and would act as he saw best.

“New elections would be irresponsible at the moment but we will have them when it is right for the club,” he said. “We have already started planning for next season and I hope to have the squad sorted out by June 30. Money is no object. We can go out and buy any players we want that would please our fans, thanks to Perez’s legacy.

“But we know just having the best 10 players in the world does not necessarily mean you have the best team.” On the future of coach Juan Ramon Lopez, Martin refused to be drawn. However, he hinted at a possible return in some capacity for Vicente Del Bosque, who led the club to Champions League victory in 2003 - their last major title - and former player Fernando Hierro.

With the club out of the King’s Cup, behind in their Champions League first knockout round tie, and trailing league leaders Barcelona by 10 points, Martin issued a final rallying call for this season. “I am convinced Perez’s resignation will be the jolt the club needed and that he wanted to give.

“This is the third year that the club has not performed as we would hope but we still have time to save this season. I want us to continue fighting in the league and in Europe, and hope that we obtain at least a Champions League place for next season.”

Real, who are third in the Primera Liga, face in-form city rivals Atletico in the Bernabeu on Saturday, and travel to London to play Arsenal in the Champions League next Wednesday.

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