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Benitez agent plays down Juventus move talk

Rafael Benitez's agent has moved to quash speculation that the current Liverpool boss could be on his way to Italy to replace under-fire Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara.

Benitez is widely believed to be the bianconeri's first choice to replace Ferrara, who has struggled to maintain what was initially an excellent start to his managerial career.

Ferrara oversaw Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by AS Roma - sixth-placed Juve's fifth loss in six Serie A matches - but his days are expected to be numbered.

Benitez has now emerged as the favourite to take charge of the 27-time Scudetto winners, but his agent Manuel García Quillón claims his short-term prospects remain focused on Anfield.

"I have had no contact with Juventus or with any other Italian club regarding an interest on Rafa Benitez,'' Quilon told Press Association Sport.

"There have been rumours linking Rafa to Juve just as there have been reports linking (Guus) Hiddink to Juve. But they are all media speculation and there is no truth in it.

"Rafa has a four-year contract with Liverpool. He feels he has the strength to continue with the team and he is fully focused on guiding Liverpool up the standings.''

Former Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink has also been heavily linked with Juve in the event of Ferrara being sacked, but his reported demands of €3.5 million to take on an interim role similar to his position at Chelsea last season was seen as excessive.

Hiddink is believed to have asked for €6 million per season to take the job on a permanent basis, but that demand was also rejected.

Benitez currently earns £4 million per season at Anfield but it is unlikely that Juve will be able to improve on that figure, though his spending is unlikely to be as restricted as it is under the current Liverpool regime.

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