Benitez swerves Alonso issue

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez refused to be drawn on the future of midfielder Xabi Alonso on Monday but did rule out any potential move for Spain international David Villa.

Alonso has been the subject of sustained interest from Real Madrid and the 27-year-old was quoted in the Spanish press as indicating he would be keen on a return to his homeland.

But Benitez, who is in Thailand with his squad as part of a pre-season tour, has underlined the Spain international will not be leaving the Reds any time soon, saying: "One thing that you need to understand is the Spanish press. The future of Xabi Alonso is to enjoy here with the people of Thailand and the weather and the game. The next week he will be here."

Benitez also revealed he has no plans to discuss the situation with the player, who signed a five-year deal in June 2007 and proved one of Liverpool's key performers last term, ahead of Wednesday night's game against Thailand in Bangkok.

"We'll talk about tactics and the game and try to enjoy our football," he added.

One player who will not be arriving at Anfield, however, is David Villa.

The prolific Valencia striker has been periodically linked with the Merseyside club and the prospect of recreating his partnership with countryman Fernando Torres in the Premier League was one to savour.

But Benitez emphatically ruled out any approach for the 27-year-old.

"David Villa, he is not our target," he stressed.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Premier League
Xabi Alonso
Fernando Torres

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