Mourinho drops Diarra for preseason
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho dropped Lassana Diarra from the team's preseason training, leaving the France international's future with the Spanish club uncertain.
Diarra and fellow midfielders Pedro Leon, Royston Drenthe and Sergio Canales were left out of the 25-man squad, which was traveling Monday to Los Angeles to begin preparing for the new season.
Diarra, who also played for Mourinho at Chelsea, mostly came off the bench last season. Madrid paid Portsmouth ?20 million (then $28 million) in January 2009 for the 26-year-old Frenchman.
Leon rarely played under Mourinho and is expected to leave while Canales was set for Spain under-20 duty but it is also likely to be loaned out. Drenthe played on-loan at Hercules last season and is not expected to form part of the Portuguese coach's plans for the new season.
Argentina pair Gonzalo Higuain and Fernando Gago are not in the squad either, due to Copa America commitments. Gago, however, is also expected to be on the move.
Midfielder Hamit Altintop will skip the start as he recovers from back surgery while regulars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas and Xabi Alonso all arrived back from the summer break in good form.
''After a long time off for holidays, everyone has returned in phenomenal shape,'' said Carlos Diez, the head of Madrid's medical services. ''Everyone looks very motivated.''
Madrid, which is looking to end Barcelona's three-year reign as champion, opens the preseason against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday.