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Real Madrid accused over pursuit of River Plate's Exequiel Palacios

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The president of Argentine club River Plate has accused Real Madrid of ungentlemanly behaviour for going behind their backs to negotiate with midfielder Exequiel Palacios.

Palacios, 20, has also been linked with Barcelona and Inter Milan since making his senior Argentina debut in September's friendly win in Guatemala.

It has been reported that Madrid could seal a €20 million transfer in January, but Rodolfo D'Onofrio told Marca he was shocked that Madrid would act in such a way.

"We thought it was all false until now, but it was not," he said.

"It has been confirmed by his agent, and we at River are surprised that a gentlemanly institution like Madrid would negotiate directly with the player, behind our backs, without respecting a club like River.

"It does not correspond to the historic links we have with Madrid, coming from the era of Alfredo Di Stefano until the current day."

Earlier this week Palacios' agent Renato Corsi denied any contact with Madrid, while saying Inter were interested in a player reportedly being monitored by Barca technical secretary Ramon Planes.

Reports in Argentina say River are trying to increase the player's release clause from €15m to €30m.

Madrid have spent heavily in the Brazilian market in recent transfer windows, with €45 million Vinicius Junior having made his senior debut this week and fellow teenager Rodrygo agreeing a €54m move for next summer.