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Real Madrid and Barcelona, what's next?
June 19th, 2007 7AM

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TAGS:  italy, spain


After a thrilling La Liga campaign in which Real Madrid edged Barcelona for the title, presidents of both clubs were quickly forced to turn to the future.

Madrid president Ramon Calderon, criticized earlier this season for being "vain and egotistical,"must decide what to do with Coach Fabio Capello.

The Italian, nicknamed the "Sergeant" for his harsh tactics, is rumored to be on the way out in favor of Getafe coach Bernd Schuster, a former Real Madrid star, and doesn't like his uncertain status.

"From the very first day I've been labeled as a defensive coach and the criticisms haven't stopped," said Capello. "I haven't felt very well supported by Calderon."

Already gone are David Beckham, who joined MLS's Los Angeles Galaxy on a free transfer, and longtime Real Madrid player Roberto Carlos, who will play for Turkish champion Fenerbahce.

Jose Antonio Reyes, the star of Sunday's 3-1 victory over Real Mallorca with two goals, is likely to leave, perhaps for Atletico Madrid, after his season-long loan spell from Arsenal.

"The truth is," Reyes said, "I haven't been given the chances I would have liked in the second half of the season, but I scored two goals and I hope they will serve to keep me at the club."

Veteran defender Michel Salgado, another stand-out player on Sunday, also wants to stay.

"I've proved that I will give everything for this club until I can't give anything more," said the 31-year-old Salgado. "I represent the old guard at this club. We've had to take the criticism and stay calm throughout. We are all under contract and we want to stay and now are future is a problem for the club."

LAPORTA'S LAMENT. Barcelona president Joan Laporta said his club will undergo an overhaul during the offseason.

"This season we played with fire and got burned," Laporta was quoted as saying in the Spanish media on Monday. "The time for analysis has now come and I have to admit that we have all made mistakes. We need to carry out a thorough renewal of the squad in terms of professionalism, commitment and enthusiasm."

For the time being, Laporta said he wanted Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o to remain at Barca despite reports that the attacking duo didn't get along.

"Our intention is that Ronaldinho and Eto'o should stay with us and that they will be key players next season," Laporta said.

Eto'o is rumored to be AC Milan's No. 1 target on the summer transfer market.

Barca has been linked to Arsenal striker Thierry Henry and several defensive specialists -- Roma defender Cristian Chivu, Lyon left back Eric Abidal and Monaco's Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure.

One striker who won't be back is Javier Saviola, who spent six years with the Catalan club.

"They haven't treated me well, but that's their business," the 25-year-old Argentine international said on Monday. "They'll have their reasons for acting that way, but I'm leaving with my conscience clear, knowing that I've always tried to do my best."

Coach Frank Rijkaard is rumored to be on his way out at Barcelona, but Laporta reaffirmed his support for the Dutchman.

"We still have confidence in Frank Rijkaard," the Barca president said, "but I want to reiterate that we need to overhaul and adjust the squad."



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