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By ESPN Staff

Real Madrid steps up interest in Altidore

MADRID, Spain -- Real Madrid is reportedly interested in American teenage star Jozy Altidore.

Sporting director assistant Carlos Bucero had traveled to New York amid reports the Spanish champions were interested in signing the 18-year-old New York Red Bulls striker, the team said Friday.

Altidore's agent wouldn't say if he had met with Bucero, but confirmed his client's interest in Madrid.

"We've heard of the interest and for any soccer player it is a thrill to be linked with Real Madrid, and Jozy's really happy about the news," Richard Motzkin told The Associated Press. "We all know information has been published about this. Jozy's happy with where he's at in this stage of his career with the Red Bulls, but we'll see what happens."

Altidore made his U.S. national team debut in a 1-0 friendly win over South Africa on Nov. 17.

He scored four goals as the United States reached the quarterfinals at the under-20 World Cup earlier this year, and had nine goals in 22 games in Major League Soccer this season.

A move to Madrid would see Altidore join U.S. teammate Freddy Adu on the Iberian Peninsula. The 18-year-old Adu moved to Portuguese club Benfica from D.C. United in August.