Napoli rule out move for Barcelona midfielder

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Napoli have distanced themselves from speculation linking them with a January move for Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano, reports Sky Sports.

The 29-year-old Argentine international has been identified as a possible target for Rafael Benitez, who worked with the 29-year-old during his time in charge at Liverpool.

However, the Azzurri's proposed interest in the Barcelona star - who can also operate as a makeshift centre-back - has been rubbished by the Serie 'A' club's president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, who insisted that no money will be put towards bringing Mascherano to Stadio San Paolo.

"We are not interested in Mascherano and we are not looking to get him," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Mascherano has made nine first-team appearances for Barcelona this season, the most recent of which coming in Saturday's 2-1 El Clasico victory against Real Madrid at Camp Nou.

The South American schemer suffered a hamstring injury in a league match against Real Sociedad in September, which ruled him out of action for around a month, before making his return in Barcelona's Champions League clash against Napoli's Italian rivals AC Milan on October 22.

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