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Last Updated: Friday, 8 June 2007, 07:30 GMT 08:30 UK
Alonso extends Liverpool contract
Xabi Alonso
Alonso was one of boss Rafael Benitez's first signings
Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has signed a new deal with the club.

The 25-year-old Spaniard, who had been linked with a move away from Anfield, has put pen to paper on a contract that runs for five more years until 2012.

"I knew there was interest from other clubs but it was always my idea to stay here. It's a special club and I just didn't want to leave," said Alonso.

He is the fourth Red to sign a new deal after Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and compatriot Pepe Reina.

"It's also good news to see that other players have signed new contracts this week," added Alonso.

"Stevie, Carra and Pepe are all big players for us and it's great they have all shown their commitment.

"I'm sure the manager will be bringing in new players as well and that the new owners will be making a big effort to improve the squad.

606: DEBATE
RS
"We can achieve big things and hopefully we won't make the same mistakes next season as we did last season. We want to be challenging the top teams."

Alonso, who signed for Liverpool in a 10.5m deal from Real Sociedad in August 2004, had been linked with a return to Spain and Barcelona.

Speculation also suggested a move to Juventus could be on the cards, particularly with his place in the team under threat following the January arrival of Javier Mascherano.

But Alonso is up for the challenge of battling the Argentine for a midfield role on Merseyside.

"It's great to have competition and I'm ready to fight for my place," he added.

"The more top-quality players we have then the better the level of the team will be and I'm confident I can play a lot of minutes on the pitch and keep the confidence of the manager."

After securing Alonso's services, the Champions League finalists will now turn their attentions to Steve Finnan and Mohamed Sissoko.

The pair are expected to sign five-year extensions over the weekend.

But boss Rafael Benitez has seen enough of goalkeeper Daniele Padelli, who has returned to Sampdoria after a loan spell at Anfield.

The 21-year-old played one game for the Reds, the last domestic outing of the season against Charlton.

The Reds have also released former youth team keeper David Roberts, while Jerzy Dudek has not been retained, so Benitez will need to bolster his options behind Reina and Scott Carson.



SEE ALSO
Reina pens new Liverpool contract
07 Jun 07 |  Liverpool
Gerrard & Carragher extend deals
04 Jun 07 |  Liverpool
Crouch backed to stay at Anfield
28 May 07 |  Liverpool
Liverpool snap up Hungarian pair
28 May 07 |  Liverpool
We must spend big, says Benitez
24 May 07 |  Liverpool
AC Milan 2-1 Liverpool
23 May 07 |  Europe
Comment: Reds fall short
23 May 07 |  Football
Reds to begin stadium work in May
02 Apr 07 |  Liverpool
Mascherano free to join Liverpool
20 Feb 07 |  Liverpool


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