Liverpool defender set for exit

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Liverpool defender Fabio Aurelio has turned down the offer of a new pay-as-you-play deal and will leave the club next week, manager Rafael Benitez has confirmed.

The Brazilian's Anfield career has been littered with injuries and his final year was indicative of that. He missed the start of the campaign after sustaining a freak knee problem while playing football with his children and a thigh problem at the end of February prematurely ended his season.

Because of his fitness record the club offered the 30-year-old a flexible deal based on the matches he played but Aurelio wanted the security of a more permanent arrangement and has chosen to end his four-year stay at Anfield. "Fabio's contract is nearly finished and he is going to leave us," said Benitez.

"We had been trying to work something out with regards an extension but it was a pity that we couldn't.

"He has given us absolutely fantastic service. The one problem we had with Fabio was that he suffered too many injuries and it was such a pity because he has great quality."

Aurelio's absence placed additional pressure on 21-year-old left-back Emiliano Insua as there were times when Benitez wanted to rest the player but had no other back up and, as a result, the Argentinian played 44 matches before he too succumbed to injury late in the season.

Benitez was sorry to see Aurelio leave as he had nothing but praise for the player he brought from former club Valencia on a free transfer in June 2006.

"With Fabio being out so much, it meant that we had to use Insua more than we would have liked and that was not easy for him," the Spaniard told the Liverpool Echo.

"Fabio is a top professional, a great player and a really good lad.

"It has been a pleasure having him here and we really will miss him. You are talking about an amazing person who gave 100% all the time. We wish him all the best."

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Fabio Aurelio

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