Almiron 'honoured' to be linked to Real Madrid

Miguel Almiron is flattered by reported interest from Real Madrid but insists his focus remains on the Copa America and a return to Newcastle United.

The 25-year-old midfielder is a key part of the Paraguay team that will play hosts Brazil in the Copa quarter-finals on Thursday, having assisted two goals in three group stage matches.

According to reports in his homeland, Almiron's fine individual display in a 1-1 draw against Argentina caught the eye of Madrid, who are rebuilding under Zinedine Zidane.

Almiron joined Newcastle from Atlanta United in January and is preparing for a first full season in the Premier League, but he acknowledged pride in links to Madrid.

"I know nothing of it," he told reporters. "Of course, for me, it is an honour that a team of this size has an interest in my football, but, as I said, I do not know anything.

"And now I'm only focused on the national team at this Copa America and Newcastle."

Almiron is the biggest name in the Paraguay squad following his reported £21million switch to Newcastle, though he believes team spirit has been key to their success.

"I feel good in front of the group, but I do not feel like a leader," he said. "I believe that, in Paraguay, we are all leaders on the field.

"We get along really well and that's important because we do not depend on a player. Our squad stands out for this, because we depend on everyone.

"I feel very good in the group. I see everyone very excited and united, and this is very good for us."

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