Madrid, Jan 15 (Agencies): Real Madrid are keen to bring back veteran striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy from SV Hamburg, according to media reports early Saturday.

The Spanish giants are looking for a short-term replacement for Gonzalo Higuain, who will be out for at least four months after undergoing a back operation earlier this week.

Van Nistelrooy, 34, left Real for Hamburg a year ago after three and a half successful years in Madrid, in which he scored 61 goals in 93 games and helped the whites to win two Liga titles.

According to AS, Van Nistelrooy is "very keen" to return to Real, but the whites are not prepared to pay a transfer fee for him.

Real are second in La Liga, two points behind leaders Barcelona, and will face old enemies Lyon in the Champions League round of 16.