Manchester United's David De Gea dismisses talk of Real Madrid switch
Manchester United keeper David De Gea has laughed off reports linking him with a switch to Real Madrid.
Earlier this month, Spanish paper Marca said the Spain international could succeed Iker Cassilas in goal at the Bernabeu, claiming he was open to a move and his agent was holding off on talks about a new deal at Old Trafford.
A poll in the paper said the time had come for him to take over from Casillas at the Bernabeu.
But De Gea, 23, told German football magazine kicker: "Those are rumours. I am happy here."
He said he had experienced difficult times at the start of his United career, adding: "I felt bad, even though Alex Ferguson always backed me.
"I tried to be positive. What helped me is that I loved the daily work on the training ground, and used that to get better. But at first it was not easy to cope with all the criticism"
De Gea produced an outstanding performance as United beat Everton 2-1 at Old Trafford earlier this month, with a stunning late save preserving all three points.
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That sparked the admiration of Old Trafford legend Peter Schmeichel and lavish praise from boss Van Gaal, and De Gea said: "All that praise still sends me shivers down my spine.
"But I don't want to be a hero, I want to help the team."
He said United, currently sixth in the Premier League table, were still in a learning process under new coach Louis van Gaal.
"We are finding ourselves better week by week -- that's the result of hard work," he explained. "The challenge is to get back to the very top.
"It's normal to have early difficulties when you get a new manager with a new concept. Van Gaal has always said that it will take time. But there's no doubt about it: United have to return to the Champions League."