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Spain defender Odriozola signs up for Real Madrid    

MADRID Spain (Xinhua) -- Spain defender Alvaro Odriozola has joined Real Madrid on a six-year deal, Real Madrid announced on its official website on Thursday.

Odriozola, who travelled with the Spanish national team to the Russia World Cup but did not play, is a former player of the Basque team Real Sociedad.

“Real Madrid and Real Sociedad have agreed the transfer of Alvaro Odriozola”, the club said, adding that “the player has signed a contract with the club for the next six seasons”.

Local media reported that the figure resulted from the agreement amounted to 30 million euros.

The 22-year-old right-back has made 35 La Liga appearances for Real Sociedad in the 2107/18 campaign and made his European debut when playing six times in the Europa League.

Real Madrid describes him as “one of the continent’s most promising young defenders”, adding that he is “a right-back known for his lung-busting runs”.

This is the first signing announced by Real Madrid for the next season.



Belgium boss Martinez brushes aside talk of Spain interest

Paul Giblin MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has brushed away suggestions that he is the favorite to replace Julen Lopetegui as the next coach of the Spain national football team.

Lopetegui was replaced on a temporary basis by Fernando Hierro for Spain’s World Cup campaign, but the search is on for a long-term replacement.

Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has been mentioned as a candidate, as have Quique Sanchez Flores and Michel Gonzalez, but Spanish radio station Cadena Ser on Wednesday night said that Martinez was the favorite candidate of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President, Luis Rubiales.

Speaking on the radio network, Martinez, who spent much of his playing career and all of his coaching career in England before taking over with Belgium, said he hadn’t expected to be linked with the post. “They don’t know me very well in Spain and I would be surprised to get a call from the national team,” he said.

Martinez admitted that he didn’t have a buy-out clause in his current contract with Belgium and that the “only thing I am focused on is playing Brazil” [in the World Cup quarterfinals on Friday].

Martinez signed a new contract to lead Belgium to the 2020 European Championships and said he lived “from project to project” and that in football “you can only look at the present.”  He also went on to say that  he needs to be involved in a project where the focus is “beyond whether you win one or two games.”

Given that the RFEF sacked Lopetegui for negotiating with Real Madrid shortly after signing a new contract, if they are looking to sign a coach who himself only two months ago renewed his contract, it could reflect poorly on the organization.

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