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Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 16:31 UK

Benitez coy on Alonso Reds future

Xabi Alonso
Alonso said it was a "great feeling" to be linked with Real Madrid

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez refused to be drawn on the future of Xabi Alonso when asked if the midfielder would be leaving the club.

Alonso is a target for Real Madrid and reports in the Spanish media suggest the 27-year-old would consider a move.

However, with Liverpool in Thailand on a pre-season tour, Benitez would only confirm that Alonso is part of his plans in the Far East.

"Xabi Alonso is here with us so he will be available," said Benitez.

"One thing that you need to understand is the Spanish press.

"The future of Xabi Alonso is to enjoy here with the people of Thailand and the weather and the game. The next week he will be here."


In an interview with the Spanish newspaper AS, Alonso was quoted as saying that he was flattered to be linked with Real but would not request a move away from Anfield.

"It is always a great feeling when Madrid want you," he said. "Especially considering the phase of the career I am in now.

"But at this point, whether or not that can happen is not up to me. It's a matter that involves three parties, including myself. I do not like to force the issue. I prefer to talk."

Alonso's comments follow those of Real sporting director Miguel Pardeza, who said they are keen to add the Spain international to their squad for next season as president Florentino Perez continues his rebuilding at the Bernabeu.

He has already spent about £209m to bring some of the world's best players to the Bernabeu, including Brazilian playmaker Kaka, Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo, French striker Karim Benzema and Spanish defender Raul Albiol.

One player who will is unlikely to move to Merseyside next season is Valencia striker David Villa.

The 27-year-old has been strongly linked with a move away from Spain this summer but Benitez ruled out any approach for the Spanish international.

We still have some time and we need to keep working on other names

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez

"David Villa, he is not our target," he stressed.

But Benitez hinted there could be more arrivals in the summer, following the £17m capture of full-back Glen Johnson from Portsmouth.

"We have already signed Johnson, an international for England," he said.

"He is a good signing and Andriy Voronin is coming back (from a loan spell with Hertha Berlin), he was one of the best players in the German league, so we have two good additions. You never know in football, we still have some time and we need to keep working on other names.

"We have fantastic players and hopefully we can keep the level of last year and see with one or two additions we could improve a little bit. At the moment we are very pleased."

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see also
Alonso remains a target for Real
10 Jul 09 |  Europe
Johnson completes Liverpool move
26 Jun 09 |  Liverpool
Benitez insists Alonso will stay
24 May 09 |  Liverpool
Skrtel injury worry for Liverpool
25 Jul 09 |  Liverpool

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