We're well covered - Pellegrini
Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini insists they have plenty of
cover up front as Ruud van Nistelrooy inches closer to the Bernabeu
Van Nistelrooy has been linked to a host of clubs recently but reports in Spain suggest German side Hamburg have won the race for the prolific Holland international's signature, although there has been no official confirmation yet.
When asked about the former Manchester United hitman, Pellegrini was quoted by AS as saying: "I think Ruud is always useful.
"But he is a player who unfortunately has had a difficult season. We tried to play him as much as possible when he was okay, but he was injured for a long time.
"Now the season is quite advanced and I think he's every right to take decisions that he thinks are best for him.
"The club has total respect for his career, his capacity as a player and as a person."
The 33-year-old Van Nistelrooy finished as the leading scorer in La Liga during his first season with Madrid in 2006/07, but the latter part of his time with the Spanish club has been plagued by injuries and he has managed just a handful of appearances this term.
Madrid have not been short of goals in Van Nistelrooy's absence though, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Raul helping the club net 42 goals in La Liga so far - at an average of 2.3 goals per game.
And should, as now seems likely, Van Nistelrooy have played his last game for the Spanish giants, Pellegrini is confident they have the strength in depth to cope.
"We have four strikers and we are well covered," said the Chilean coach.
Like Van Nistelrooy, Madrid midfielder Fernando Gago has also been widely linked to a possible move away during the January transfer window.
The latest club to show an interest are Manchester City, but Pellegrini preferred not to comment on speculation about the Argentina international.
"I cannot talk about the situation of every player. I cannot be talking about players who could be coming in or going. I will only talk about it when it's official," Pellegrini added.