Rio would return to Bernabeu

FA clarify Capello stance on Spain friendly

Ferdinand: No problem with Madrid

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Rio Ferdinand would not have a problem returning to the Bernabeu with England to face Spain in a friendly.

The Manchester United centre-back was one of the England players racially abused by Spanish supporters during a similar meeting four years ago.

Fabio Capello is eager to face the European Champions in February and talks are under way between the two nations to arrange the fixture.

The Football Association have stated that they are not prepared to play the game at Real Madrid's home ground after the abuse aimed at Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jermaine Jenas and Jermain Defoe in 2004.

Their Spanish counterparts have claimed they will have the final say on the venue, and Ferdinand is prepared to play wherever he is asked.

Wrong reasons

He said: "Going back to Madrid is not a problem. Wherever the FA ask us to play isn't a problem. The players won't mind that.

"Everyone knows what happened last time. If we did go back there, it'd be nice to imagine that the same kind of stuff that happened to the black players last time doesn't happen again.

"You remember different games for different reasons. That one was remembered for the wrong reasons, which isn't nice.

"The Bernabeu holds a lot of great memories for different players and fans across the world, but those were bad memories for us from that one international."


The FA initially claimed that Capello backed their stance on refusing to play in Madrid but the Italian, who is a former Real manager, rejected those claims.

And FA director of communications, Adrian Bevington confirmed he had got it wrong.

"It was an oversight to include Fabio's name and say he shared the same view about it," said Bevington. "His role is purely to select opponents."

Meanwhile, Spain and Real captain Iker Casillas has hit out suggestions that the game would not be played at the Bernabeu.

"That really does seem like a joke and completely stupid to me," he told AS.

"At every stadium there are heartless people who shout against everything and everyone, but you can't generalise, and even less with the crowd at the Bernabeu who have always shown their respect and their love for good football."