Steve McManaman quashed rumours of a high-profile return to the Premier League yesterday when he confirmed to the Bulletin he was returning to Madrid for pre-season training. The Real Madrid and England midfielder has been linked with a move to London teams Chelsea and Arsenal after the Spanish giants claimed they needed to off-load players to offset their summer spending spree. When Madrid broke the bank buying French World Cup star Zinedine Zidane from Juventus earlier in the month many thought McManaman's days were numbered. However, the former Liverpool player told the Bulletin yesterday: “I am going back to Madrid tomorrow for training.” McManaman was speaking at the Breitling Regatta in Puerto Portals where he had turned up to buy a newspaper. After a quick glance at the boats and a chat with Adrian Moorhouse (see adjoining article) he rushed off saying: “I've got a boat of my own and I want to get out on it today.” McManaman, who owns a luxury villa, in Son Vida will return to Madrid knowing his work is cut out for him. With a midfield featuring Zidane, Portuguese star Luis Figo, Brazilian Flavio and Spanish star Guti, Macca will have to fight hard to win a place on the team. Macca faced the same problem last season, but stuck to his principles and battled against a team intent on cutting their escalating wage structure. However, his persistence paid off and was rewarded with a regular starting place.

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