Hamburg stubborn over Ruud move

Hamburg Sporting Director Bastian Reinhardt will fight Real Madrid to retain the services of striker Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Van Nistelrooy, 34, has been linked with a surprise return to Spanish giants Real, who are down to just one fit striker after Gonzalo Higuain was ruled out through injury.

Dutchman Van Nistelrooy left the La Liga outfit for Hamburg in January 2010 after a three-and-a-half years in Spain, but manager Jose Mourinho wants to bring the former Manchester United and PSV Eindhoven striker back to the club as a short-term solution to the injury crisis.

Van Nistelrooy is said to be keen on the move, but Hamburg are not prepared to let one of their prized assets leave without a fight.

“I can understand him, but in my opinion, HSV is bigger than Real Madrid,” Reinhardt said.

“I am responsible for HSV and have the responsibility to look after the interests of HSV and not Real Madrid or any particular player. We have no interest in letting him go.”

The proposed departure of Van Nistelrooy is not the only cause for unrest at the Bundesliga club, with former Germany international Matthias Sammer and retired Hamburg favourite Horst Hrubesch rumoured to be in line to replace under-fire manager Armin Veh.

Veh remains the subject of speculation surrounding his future, despite easing the pressure with a 1-0 win away to Schalke on Saturday.

Hamburg lie in seventh on the Bundesliga table, but are 19 points from league-leaders Borussia Dortmund.

Central defender Joris Mathijsen credited the victory over Schalke with lifting the mood at the club.

“It’s much better here, better than before the winter break,” Mathijsen said.

“Back then, you never felt secure, but that has changed since last Saturday, we were very good.”