After Months of Speculation Real Madrid Deal Fernando Morientes to Liverpool for $12 Million

MADRID - (Reuters) - Spanish international striker Fernando Morientes said he was delighted to be joining Liverpool after Real Madrid had agreed to a fee of nine million euros ($11.8 million) on Wednesday.

"I'm going to Liverpool with all the enthusiasm in the world the 28-year-old told a news conference at Real Madrid's training ground in Las Rozas.

"This has been one of the most important decisions in my life and I'm very happy about it. I'm going there to work hard and become one of the team."

Liverpool said they had yet to agree personal terms with Morientes who has been at Real since 1997.

The striker who has won three European Cups and two league titles with Real confirmed that he would be flying to England later on Wednesday and would undergo a medical with the Premier League side on Thursday.

He said he had mixed feelings about leaving Real but said he could not wait to join Liverpool after a frustrating period with the Primera Liga club.

"I've spent eight years at this club including one on loan at Monaco and they have given me everything in my career so I've only got words of thanks for them.

"I'm going with a cupboard full of trophies and for me that's the most important thing said Morientes.

"It hasn't been a very pleasant few months at Real but a lot of things have happened at the club that have contributed to that and now I'm very happy."

Morientes said that he hoped he would be able to make his debut against Manchester United at Anfield on Saturday.

"I can't wait to play my first game and if it was against Manchester United then it couldn't be any better. If the medical goes well and I get a few minutes in the game then that would be brilliant."

Morientes's move to Anfield had been mooted for weeks with Liverpool known to be in the market for a striker during the January transfer window and the Premier League club's coach Rafael Benitez expected to pick another fellow Spaniard.

If the move is completed successfully Morientes will become the fifth Spanish player to join under Benitez after former Real Madrid team mate Antonio Nunez Luis Garcia Josemi and Xabi Alonso.

Though he is ineligible for the Champions League having already played for Real in the group stage Morientes should provide a much-needed boost to Liverpool's domestic form.

Liverpool had expected a flood of goals this season after pairing Michael Owen with Djibril Cisse only to suffer a drought after the England forward went to Real in August and the Ligue 1 top scorer suffered a double leg-break in October.

That left Czech forward Milan Baros who had injury problems of his own Florent Sinama-Pongolle and reserve Neil Mellor.

Liverpool have scored a modest 17 goals in their last 10 games -- five of them in a single 5-0 drubbing of bottom club West Bromwich Albion and only seven by strikers.

For Real Morientes is surplus to requirements not just because of Owen's arrival but also because he has never been in the same bracket as the rest of the squad's "galacticos".

But more than anything else it was Morientes's performances last season at Monaco who he helped to reach the Champions League final that meant he would no longer be satisfied with a second-string role at Real.

"We tried to convince him to stay but we couldn't said Real's director of football Arrigo Sacchi. "We have a very high opinion of him as a player and as a person." "



Saturday, June 3