LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Gabriel Heinze’s acrimonious departure from Manchester United was finally sealed night when the Argentina international signed for Real Madrid in a four-year deal, the Guardian reports. The Spanish champions acted quickly after Heinze was unable to force a transfer to Liverpool and he will take over from Roberto Carlos on the left side of their defence.
“After playing for a number of clubs all over the world, Heinze arrives at Real Madrid,” Real’s website announced last night. “He adds commitment and intensity to the defence, bringing versatility and talent to the club.”
The fee has not been disclosed but it is thought it is below the £6.8m that Liverpool bid last month, an offer United immediately rejected to set in motion the chain of events that saw Heinze take the club to a Premier League hearing this week.
Madrid were the first club to register an official interest in Heinze when it became clear towards the end of last season that he would be allowed to leave Old Trafford and he held talks at the Bernabéu as long ago as May. His first choice, however, was Liverpool and he went as far as employing the club’s legal advisers to try to become the first United player to move to Anfield since Phil Chisnall in 1964.
To Liverpool’s intense disappointment, that case was thrown out after a two-day hearing at the Premier League’s headquarters in London ruled that United had not made a legally binding agreement by writing to Heinze’s advisers on June 13 stating he would be allowed to leave if a potential buyer offered £6.8m.
The verdict prompted an angry response yesterday from Liverpool’s manager, Rafael Benítez, and the already fractious relationship between the two north-west rivals has clearly been soured by what has been a messy and drawn-out affair.
Information has reached Anfield that Liverpool’s conduct was strongly criticised during the hearing – attended by Sir Alex Ferguson and United’s chief executive, David Gill – and Benítez made no attempt to conceal his displeasure. “I would like to ask the Premier League a number of questions,” he said. “How can a player with a signed agreement be treated like this?
“He has a document which is clear but the Premier League prefers to believe the word of someone else who made a mistake. I know there were accusations made against Liverpool in the hearing which were unbelievable. How can this be allowed?”
The Spaniard went on to criticise the Premier League over the fixtures Liverpool have been given after midweek international games, starting with Saturday’s early kick-off away to Sunderland. “I would like to ask the Premier League why is it that Liverpool always plays the most fixtures away from home in an early kick-off, following an international break?” he said. “We had more than the top clubs last season and we have four already to prepare for this season.
“It’s going to be very difficult for us to win the Premier League because the other teams are so strong but I want our supporters to know that despite the disadvantages we have, we will fight all the way. We will fight to cope with our more difficult kick-off times and all the other decisions which are going against us.”
Fulham’s striker Brian McBride will miss a large part of the season recovering from the left kneecap dislocated in the 2-1 defeat by Middlesbrough on Saturday. “I would suggest he’s out for the long term, rather than the short term,” said his manager, Lawrie Sanchez. “It will be a matter of months, probably, although hopefully not the entire season.”