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Mourinho and Eriksson join list of Real targets

Written by: Staff

MADRID, Mar 28 (Reuters) Real Madrid president Fernando Martin has targeted seven high-profile coaches as potential candidates to take over at the Primera Liga club next season.

''We are clear about the type of coach we want,'' Martin told Spanish television station Antena 3 yesterday.

''We want one of the coaches that you all know we want.

(Jose) Mourinho, (Fabio) Capello, (Rafa) Benitez, (Arsene) Wenger, (Carlo) Ancelotti, (Marcelo) Lippi and (Sven-Goran) Eriksson.'' He went on to add that if any of the above were selected, Real would speak to the coach's club first.

Martin has made it clear that he is looking for a replacement for Juan Ramon Lopez Caro, who he believes lacks experience at the highest level after being promoted from B team coach to replace Vanderlei Luxemburgo in December.

Arsenal's Wenger, Liverpool's Benitez and Capello of Juventus have all distanced themselves from the Real job in recent weeks.

Mourinho has always expressed his desire to continue at Chelsea, while it is well-known that Eriksson is leaving the England job after the World Cup finals in July.

It is the first time Italy coach Lippi's name has been linked with the position.

CONTRACT EXTENSION Spanish media continue to tout AC Milan coach Ancelotti as favourite to take over at the Bernabeu in July, despite his having signed a contract extension until 2008 with the Italian club last week.

''I have decided to stay with Milan, who have always been my team. They are my first choice,'' Ancelotti was quoted as saying in sports daily Marca yesterday.

''The decision is definitive but anything can happen in football.'' Earlier in the day Real had made it clear that there was no deal in place with a new coach, going back on Martin's assertions a week ago that he had chosen a successor to Lopez Caro.

In an official statement, the club said: ''Contrary to what has been reported in the Spanish and European media the club has made no decision on who will be the club's coach next season.

The club has no agreement or contract with any coach.'' Last week Martin, who replaced Florentino Perez in February, was interviewed by Spanish daily El Mundo where he said: ''I know who will be the new coach and I'm not going to name any names.'' Real are second in the Primera Liga, 11 points behind leaders Barcelona, who they visit on Saturday, with eight games left.

Reuters PDS VP0432

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