Midfielder Diarra moves to Real Madrid

December 23rd, 2008 - 11:50 am ICT by IANS  

ChelseaLondon, Dec 23 (DPA) Midfielder Lassana Diarra passed a medical with Real Madrid and completed his transfer from Portsmouth to the Spanish football champions.The former Chelsea and Arsenal midfielder moves for a fee of around 20-million pounds ($30 million), and has signed a 4.5 year contract Monday.

Diarra will wear the name “Lass” on his shirt to avoid confusion with Mahamadou Diarra, another holding player at Madrid who will miss the rest of the season after knee surgery.

The 23-year-old has sought to play down early comparisons with Claude Makelele, who played in a similar defensive midfielder role for the club between 2000 and 2003.

“It’s an honour to be compared to Makelele, but Makelele is Makelele and I am me,” he told reporters.

“We have some things in common but I’m my own player. They compare me with him but he came here when he was a little older, I’m younger.

“For four or five years I have been at great clubs, such as Arsenal and Chelsea, as well as the French national team, and I’m ready to play for Real Madrid. I have a lot of desire to do well, and I’m looking forward to defending the Real Madrid colours.”

Madrid president, Ramon Calderon, said: “He is an exceptional player who has a lot of experience and will be a magnificent solution for us for the rest of the season and four more.”

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