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 By Mike Whalley

Benitez: Napoli can't afford Reina

Napoli manager Rafa Benitez has played down his chances of signing Pepe Reina from Liverpool this summer, saying the Serie A club cannot afford the goalkeeper's wages.

- Hunter: Reina's importance to Spain

Reina has just completed a season-long loan at the Stadio San Paolo under Benitez, who brought him to Anfield from Villarreal in 2005.

The Spain international has two years left on his Anfield contract, but has little prospect of regaining a first-team place because Simon Mignolet has established himself as No. 1.

Reina said he had not ruled out the prospect of staying at Napoli and could also consider a return to Spain.

Liverpool know that selling him will give manager Brendan Rodgers more money to pursue signings ahead of next season's return to the Champions League.

But Benitez, who spent six years in charge at Anfield before leaving in 2010, thinks there is little chance of him securing a deal for Reina and told Talksport: "Pepe has two years left on his contract with Liverpool, so I think he has to go back and stay there.

"We cannot afford his wages at the moment. The Premier League is very important, and we can't pay big salaries in another country like they do in England. So Pepe will go back and he will fight for his position."

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