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Football | Spain

Fabio Coentrao © Action Images

Real close to signing Coentrao from Benfica



Spanish giants Real Madrid are closing on on Benfica left-back Fabio Coentrao, according to sports daily AS on Friday.

AS said Real were prepared to pay up to €25 million for the 23-year-old Portuguese international, although Benfica president Luis Felipe Vieira is trying to hold out for 30 million.

Rui Costa, sporting director of Benfica, said on Tuesday: "Fabio is one of the best defenders in Europe. If he leaves, it will be for the price that we are asking for."

Coentrao was briefly on loan at Zaragoza, then in the second division, two years ago.

Real have already signed Nuri Sahin from Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund and are close to clinching the signing of fellow midfielder Hamit Altintop from Bayern Munich.

In addition, the whites are poised to take youngsters Jose Maria Callejon and Dani Parejo back, after loan periods at Espanyol and Getafe respectively.

Real have been world football's highest spenders since Florentino Perez returned as president in 2009, splashing out almost €300 million on 14 new players.

They won the Spanish King's Cup in April, their first trophy since 2008, but have finished second to Barcelona in La Liga and were eliminated by the Catalans in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

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