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Real Madrid are hoping that England striker Michael Owen will stay at the club, director of football Arrigo Sacchi said.

“I hope he remains here and if he does he will have the respect of the whole club because he is a magnificent lad,” Sacchi told sports daily AS on Wednesday.

Owen has admitted speaking a number of Premier League sides about a possible move following the arrival in Madrid of Brazilian forwards Robinho and Julio Baptista.

Real claim that Real Newcastle United and another English club have shown “a serious interest in the player” although only Newcastle have admitted an interest in signing the England striker.

Sacchi also expressed his confidence in English defender Jonathan Woodgate, who has not played for Real since his arrival in Spain a year ago. Woodgate is recovering from a thigh injury that has kept him on the sidelines.

“We have got one of the best defenders I have ever seen in Jonathan Woodgate. We have to be patient with him, but he is working very hard and we have great faith in him. We know we can count on him.

“Woodgate will be our defensive signing for this season and there won’t be any more. He’s been unlucky but now everything is getting back to normal,” Sacchi said.

Sacchi admitted he was pleased that midfielder Zinedine Zidane had decided to come out of international retirement.

“You can see that Zidane is a new player,” he said.

“The fact that he has decided to play for the national side again is a sign that he has regained his enthusiasm for the game … He will have a great season.”

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