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By ESPN Staff

Benitez reiterates his desire to keep hold of Alonso

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has reiterated his intention to retain Xabi Alonso in his squad for next season.

The Spanish midfielder has been linked with a move to Real Madrid, however Benitez stressed there is no deal in place and has questioned whether Alonso, contracted until 2012, would even be interested in a move.

Benitez told Liverpool's official website: "The situation is clear, we do not want to sell our best players and that includes Xabi.

"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?''

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