Cuellar rules out Real switch

Aston Villa defender Carlos Cuellar has distanced himself from reports suggesting he will be heading to Real Madrid when the transfer window opens next month.

The former Rangers star has been the subject of much speculation in Spain where it is believed he is being lined up to replace Pepe who will play no more football this season because of injury.

However, Cuellar told the Birmingham Mail:"It's a great honour to be linked with teams of that stature.

"Although it is not true, that they mention you is important. I'm staying at Aston Villa. Nothing could happen. This is the path that I have chosen. I was not forced to do anything.

"My dream was to play in a foreign league. Where better to do that than the Premier League?"

Meanwhile, England international striker Emile Heskey looks certain to miss Sunday's top-four showdown with Arsenal after picking up a groin strain during Saturday's 1-0 victory against Stoke City.

The injury is not as severe as was first feared though and the former Liverpool and Leicester City star will certainly not be sidelined for five weeks as was originally indicated.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill said of Heskey's injury:"He went for a scan which shows a little bit of something, but he's feeling much better. I think that it's going to be a short-term injury.

"He may be available for one of the two games over Christmas. That in itself is half decent news for us because there were suggestions that he might be out for five or six weeks, which was kind of worrying when he came off. I think I'm confident enough to say that that isn't the case."

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