CASILLAS CLOSE TO REAL DEAL
By Nic Evans
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Jorge Valdano, Real's sporting director is close to agreeing the finer points of the deal with Casillas and the teenage keeper is due to put pen-to-paper on the contract sometime between the Easter holidays and the end of the month.
The club were keen to ensure 'the maximum force was used to reach an agreement' and came with the massive deal, although it is somewhat less than Casillas' advisers had been looking for.
Valdano, having completed an indepth study of the Real squad, is looking to tie down members of the first team to long term contracts.
Both parties have enjoyed convival talks and the contract has been left in the hands of Casillas' representative Gines Carvajal.
Real want Casillas to stay at Santiago Bernabeu until at least 2005, although they have him contracted until 2003 and also want to double his get-out clause to 6,000 million pesetas (£22.32 million).
Meanwhile, Ivan Helguera will negotiate his new deal in May, even though his current contract runs out in 2004.
Helguera said: "I feel established in the tea and I'm only thinking about reaching an agreement although now is not the time to speak.
"The important thing is to concentrate on the Champions League fight and to confirm the league. We will speak soon.
"At the beginning of the year, the media constantly reminded us (Makelele and Helguera) could not carry out the role that (Fernando) Redondo carried out.
"An obsession with Redondo existed which I did not understand. Makelele and I have made it clear we can contribute to the team."
Real, meanwhile have revealed that they will have to postpone plans to extend their Santiago Bernabeu stadium for 18 months as they will stage the World Club Championship later on this year.
The club has received an official notice from Fifa to confirm their participation in the tournament as a host ground and president Florentino Perez has ordered restructuring work stopped.
Real are hoping to increase their seating capacity to 86,000 and bring the stadium in line with the top grounds in the world.