Real Madrid target Gerrard as 'priority' signing

April 19, 2006

Real Madrid football director Benito Floro has identified Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard as one of the Spanish club's targets as they look to build for next season.

Gerrard, 25, almost left Anfield for Chelsea last summer before changing his mind and signing a four-year deal with the club he helped win the Champions League in May.

The England international has been targeted as a 'priority' signing - as a possible long-term replacement for playmaker Zinedine Zidane - along with Inter Milan striker Adriano.

Floro told Spanish national radio station Cadena Ser: 'I've recommended (to club president Fernando Martin) as priority signings a powerful central striker like Adriano, and a top midfielder in case Zinedine Zidane leaves.

'Gerrard is the football player that I included on the list, a player that the club has already wanted to sign in previous seasons.'

Zidane has a one-year option after this season and has said he will decide if he will return to Real after the World Cup this summer.

There has been no suggestion that Gerrard would be keen to leave Anfield, but if he did move to Madrid he would link up with England captain David Beckham and defender Jonathan Woodgate. Former Liverpool team-mate Michael Owen spent a year at the Bernabeu before joining Newcastle last summer.

Floro also suggested Getafe coach Bernd Schuster as a possible candidate to replace coach Juan Roman Lopez Caro.

Schuster, a former Germany international who played for both Real and Barcelona, has been praised for the job he has done with Madrid minnows Getafe, who are mid-table in the Primera Liga.

'Schuster's name was included in the report because in the case that Lopez Caro does not continue, I believe it was important to include a coach that knows Spanish football,' Floro added.

Sven-Goran Eriksson and Rafael Benitez, the former Valencia coach who is now in charge at Liverpool, have previously been named by Madrid as candidates to take over.