Real need to resolve off-field problems - Salgado

January 24, 2007

MADRID, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Real Madrid need to sort out their off-field problems if the team is to fulfil its potential, fullback Michel Salgado said on Wednesday.

'I've always said that they have to sort things out from the top down,' the Spain international told a news conference. 'It looks like there are going to be some more problems soon and that isn't going to help.'

Real have experienced a turbulent start to the year with David Beckham, Ronaldo and Antonio Cassano being ostracised by coach Fabio Capello and president Ramon Calderon having to apologise for his outspoken criticism of players.

Calderon's future as president is also in the balance as the club await the outcome of two key legal decisions that could hasten the end of his tenure.

A provincial court is expected to make a ruling over the decision to suspend the count of the postal vote in last July's presidential election on Thursday, while next week a judge will decide if some or all of the embargoed ballot papers are valid.

It is widely believed that if the 10,511 postal votes are counted Calderon will be unseated as president after winning the elections by a margin of just 246.

'All this talk about the postal vote affects the team,' said Salgado. 'This is the first thing that has to be resolved. After all, the players belong to Real Madrid not to any particular person and this will affect all of us.'

Salgado also backed club captain Raul's recent criticism of the club's decision to sideline Beckham, Ronaldo and Cassano.

'Above all they are Real Madrid players and they can help us win trophies,' he said.

'It doesn't seem like a good idea to leave three or four players out before the end of the season. It isn't good for the squad, but in the end it is down to the coach to make these decisions.'

Beckham has announced he will be joining MLS side LA Galaxy at the end of the season, while Real are negotiating the sale of Ronaldo to AC Milan.