Lucas Moura at centre of Real Madrid crisis

Sao Paulo, Dec 24 (IANS) Attacking midfielder Lucas Moura, who next month will move from Sao Paulo to French outfit Paris Saint-Germain in a multi-million dollar deal, is the reason behind a major rift at Spanish football club Real Madrid, according to the Spanish media.

Sports daily Marca reported that Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho had identified the Brazilian international as his top transfer target last summer, only for the player to opt for France whilst Real signed Luka Modric instead.

Florentino Perez, president of the Spanish club, allegedly regarded Sao Paulo's asking price of 43 million euros too steep for an unproven talent and refused to grant Mourinho the cash to buy the Selecao star. Modric arrived for around 30 million euros from English club Tottenham Hotspur, reports Xinhua.

Perez's failure to back his coach in the transfer market has led to a rift between the two, which has since spread to members of the playing staff and subsequently results on the pitch.

With the Spanish championship now on its winter break, defending champions Real Madrid lie 16 points behind runaway leaders Barcelona.

Having missed out on Lucas, one name currently being linked with the Spanish giants is Atletico Mineiro playmaker Bernard.

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