Benitez aiming for swift conclusion

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has called for his contract negotiations to be brought to a positive conclusion after denying he wants total control of transfers.

The Spaniard's deal runs out in the summer of 2010 and he believes the continued uncertainty over his future, and those of several members of the Anfield backroom staff, is hampering the club's long-term planning.

"Anyone that has just a year left on his contract does not have anything at all and I have only got a year and a half left," Benitez told The Guardian.

He continued: "When people, either within the club or from outside it, realise that the manager only has that much time left then he is dead.

"I've got 10 or 12 assistants whose contracts are up in June. How can a manager lead a project properly if the continuity of his staff is not secure for two or three years?"

One of the reputed stumbling blocks to Benitez's contract negotiations has been his alleged insistence that he is given a free rein on transfers, where chief executive Rick Parry currently holds ultimate power.

But he added: "I would like to clear one thing up - I never asked for complete control.

"I did, however, ask for the power to be able to make my own decisions and run the team the way I see fit. That is not the same thing."

When Benitez's time on Merseyside does come to an end, he admits it would be a privilege to take charge of Real Madrid, where he was coach of the youth teams earlier in his career.

"I am not thinking about leaving and I hope to be here for a long time but of course Real Madrid would be the perfect ending to anyone's career," he said. "But my career is not at an end yet."

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