Benitez rubbishes Alonso exit claims

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has moved quickly to deny reports in Spain that Real Madrid have agreed a deal to sign Reds midfielder Xabi Alonso for £22million.

As reported earlier today on This Is Anfield, Spanish newspaper Sport claimed Alonso was set to leave Anfield with defender Gabriel Henize going the other way.

But Benitez says Alonso is happy at the club and looking forward to next season’s title challenge.

“The situation is clear, we do not want to sell our best players and that includes Xabi,” Benitez said.

“He had a very good season for us and can be an important player in the future. There is no agreement with Real and we want him to be part of our plans going forward.

“Xabi himself told our club magazine only two weeks ago that he was looking forward to his sixth season as a Liverpool player. Why should he want to leave now?”

Benitez did add that Alonso’s agent had approached him recently regarding the Spanish international’s future, but that there was little to say.

“Xabi’s agent came to see me recently to talk about the future,” Benitez added. “It was a surprise for me and I pointed out to him there were three years left on Xabi’s contract.

“I asked him if the player was happy in Liverpool and he said yes. It was a short meeting.”

TIA Comment: So there’s a lot of speculation about Alonso at the moment, but Benitez’s comments today perhaps hinted that it’s been Alonso’s agent stirring things up looking for bigger bucks for himself and Xabi. I’m confident Alonso knows we’re onto a good thing at Anfield and, especially after such a good season, is sticking around to complete the Rafalution.