Rafa: Xabi must stay for the fans

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has pointed to the massive amount of support fans in Thailand and Singapore for Xabi Alonso as a reason for the Spanish midfielder to stay at Anfield.

Alonso has been linked with a move to Real Madrid all summer and is said to be undecided on his future.

Benitez confirmed that he has begun talks with Alonso into convincing him to stay at the club beyond this summer.

“I talked to Xabi yesterday and told him, as he can see here, that the fans love him and I said to him, ‘maybe you have to stay,” Benitez said on Saturday.

“You can see he is a really good player and I’ll be really pleased if he stays. All the players and his team-mates want him to stay. If we keep Xabi I will be very pleased.”

Alonso is expected to take part in tomorrow’s pre-season friendly in Singapore.