Mourinho: 'I want all players to stay'

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho is eager to keep players over transfer window as his team faces Malaga in King's Cup.

     Real Madrid striker Angel di Maria is just one of many players Mourinho would love to stay [EPA] 

    Jose Mourinho does not want any Real Madrid players to leave in the January transfer window, the coach said on Monday.

    "I have not asked for any signings and I have been clear I wouldn't like it if anyone left," the Portuguese told reporters.

    "The players know it, the board of directors too," said Mourinho ahead of Tuesday's King's Cup last-16 first leg tie at
    home to Malaga.

    "I would like to start and finish the season with the same players."

    "I would like to start and finish the season with the same players"

    Jose Mourinho

    Some of the squad members at La Liga leaders Real that rarely get playing time have been linked in the media with moves to the English Premier League including Spain centre back Raul Albiol and midfielder Esteban Granero.

    Argentine Gonzalo Higuain, who competes for a place in the forward line with France international Karim Benzema, is also a target for Chelsea according to reports.

    Turning to Tuesday's game, Mourinho said Malaga would want to prove their mettle after spending more than $130 million on players since they were bought by a member of the Qatari royal family in June 2010.

    "We are speaking about a team that made a huge investment and for sure they want a return and I think the cup is a target for them," said Mourinho.

    Big spenders

    Qatar-owned Malaga were one of Europe's biggest spenders in the close season and the ambition that investment reflects faces a stern test against Real Madrid.

    The Andalusian club added around $78 million worth of players to the team led by former Real coach Manuel Pellegrini, including $26 million for Spain playmaker Santi Cazorla.

    While Pellegrini has targeted a top-six finish in La Liga and a place in European competition next season, Malaga's owner, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani, will be keen for them to show in the Cup that some of the money spent is starting to bear fruit.

    "They are the second-best team in the world right now, behind Barcelona, and they are proving it day-by-day"

    Malaga's Santi Cazorla

    Jose Mourinho's Real steamrollered Malaga 4-0 in a league game at the Rosaleda in October and Cazorla is under no illusions about the scale of the task that faces them at Real's Bernabeu arena.

    "They are the second-best team in the world right now, behind Barcelona, and they are proving it day-by-day," Cazorla told a news conference on Sunday.

    "It's going to be a very tough game and hopefully we can get something positive out of it to keep our chances alive for the return leg," the former Villarreal player said.

    "In the league, Madrid had five or six goal-scoring chances and netted four and it was game over.

    "Playing at home with the fans behind them we'll have to be focused and not make any mistakes because they are expensive. If the team plays at a good level we can challenge them."

    Even if Malaga can get past Real, their likely opponent in the last eight will present no less of a challenge to their bid
    for silverware this season.

    Barcelona, who lost 1-0 to Real in the 2011 final, will play the winners of the Real-Malaga tie if they can dispose of La Liga rivals Osasuna, with the first leg being played at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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