Real Madrid director Arrigo Saachi has offered his backing to Jonathan Woodgate, describing the former Newcastle man as one of the best defenders he has ever seen.

Saachi rates Woodgate as one of the best defenders he hass ever seen, despite the fact that the England international has not kicked a ball for Real.

The former Leeds man has struggled with injury since arriving in Spain, but after a year on the sidelines, he looks set to make his Real debut.

“We have got one of the best defenders I have ever seen in my life,” said Saachi. “And that’s Jonathan Woodgate.

“He’s had bad luck and there just has to be a bit of patience with him.

“Jonathan is working very well and we have confidence in him.

“We know we can count on him and we’re not going to push him.”