Atletico Madrid goalkeeper De Gea hails Man. Utd greats

08:51, June 22, 2011      

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Atletico Madrid goalkeeper David de Gea said Tuesday that his goalkeeping heroes are former Manchester United greats Peter Schmeichel and Edwin Van der Saar.

De Gea is currently on duty with the Spain U-21 squad in the European Championships, being held in Denmark, but speaking to sports paper Diario AS, he expressed his admiration for the two legendary goalkeepers.

"Edwin (Van der Saar) has played for 20 years at the top level and he is a reference for me. He is a great goalkeeper and he has always shown that," said De Gea.

De Gea is widely thought to be on his way to Manchester United to replace Van der Saar, who retired at the end of last season and the 20-year-old showed his knowledge of Manchester United goalkeepers, when he also discussed Peter Schmeichel, who is perhaps the greatest ever Man Utd keeper.

"When I was young, I liked him a lot. Him and Van der Saar are the two best goalkeepers that I have seen," said De Gea.

However, the young keeper admitted that he was not getting involved in negotiations over his future in order to not lose him competition for the European Championships, where Spain have reached the semi-finals.

"I am trying to concentrate on the European Championships. For a player it is important only to think about that and not on things that come from elsewhere. I don't think it is necessary to be talking about the question (of the transfer) all of the time," added De Gea, who nevertheless admitted his admiration for the Premier League Champions.

"Manchester is a great club and it is an honor that they are interested in me, but Atletico Madrid is also a big club," he said.

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