MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid have blamed Manchester United for their failure to sign Spain goalkeeper David De Gea before Monday's midnight transfer deadline and said they did everything needed to complete the transaction.
De Gea faces an uncertain future after the deal to join Real, which included Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas moving to the English club, was scuppered when the paperwork did not arrive at the Spanish league in time and the data was not entered into FIFA's Transfer Matching System (TMS) as required.
Real said in a statement on their website (www.realmadrid.com) on Tuesday the bureaucratic snafu, which prompted widespread ridicule on social media, was not their fault and detailed exhaustively how and why the necessary documents were not ready until it was too late.
United had not initiated talks on a possible De Gea transfer until Monday morning, the statement said.
After initial agreement was reached, Real said they sent the contracts to United at 1:39 p.m. Spanish time (1139 GMT).
Eight hours later they were sent back with "small modifications", which Real said they immediately accepted.
Real then sent the contracts signed by De Gea and Navas back to United for their signature at 2132 GMT, 28 minutes before the deadline.
United entered the details of De Gea's transfer into TMS at exactly midnight Spanish time but did not register the Navas deal and by then it was too late for Real to access the system.
TMS gave them a last chance to register the deal around half an hour later and Real also sent the documents to the Spanish league even though they knew the deadline had passed.
"Real Madrid did everything necessary, and at all times, to complete these two transfers," Real's statement concluded.
The Spanish league did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for United said they had no immediate response to Real's statement.
FIFA rules state that players can be registered only during one of two annual transfer periods -- the other is in January -- with the exception being if their contract has expired before the end of a registration period.
For a player to transfer to another country, their new club and his previous club have to submit certain information and documentation to the TMS.
The system then generates an International Transfer Certificate (ITC) which allows the player's registration to be switched from one country to another.
Asked on Tuesday about the failed transfer, a FIFA spokesperson said: "Up until now, we do not appear to have been contacted by either of the parties in this matter.
"Please understand that as a result we cannot comment on a hypothetical scenario."
As things stand, De Gea, whose deal with United expires at the end of the season when he can leave for free, could find himself out in the cold, at least until the end of the year when the market opens again.
As the transfer saga rumbled on, United coach Louis van Gaal left the 24-year-old former Atletico Madrid keeper out of the squad for the Premier League club's opening games of the season, with Argentina international Sergio Romero playing instead.
Real want De Gea as a long-term replacement for his Spain team mate Iker Casillas, the former club captain who joined Porto in July.
De Gea was selected last week for Spain's forthcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers against Slovakia and Macedonia although coach Vicente del Bosque hinted that he could lose his place in the squad if his club situation remained unresolved.
Reporting by Iain Rogers; Editing by Clare Fallon