Benayoun plays down Barcelona link

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The Independent Online

Yossi Benayoun has distanced himself from the prospect of a shock move to Barcelona, but admits he will have to discuss his future with Liverpool.

It has been claimed that the European champions have enquired about Benayoun, in the same week that fellow Reds midfielder Javier Mascherano was linked with the Catalan giants.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez killed off that suggestion by saying Barca could not afford Mascherano and he would reject even £50million for the player.

But with just two years left on his contract, Israel skipper Benayoun's advisors could well be angling for a new deal for the 27-year-old.

Benayoun said recently: "It could be Real Madrid knocking on my door, I would still rather stay at Liverpool. I have had some offers so maybe I need to talk with Liverpool.

"At the moment I am a Liverpool player, and unless something surprising happens, I will remain one. But after such a good season, I have had some offers from England and Spain.

"You have to give that some consideration, so there will probably be some discussions with Liverpool."

Benitez could soon tie up a deal to sell full-back Andrea Dossena to Juventus for £6.5m, after the Italian failed to settled at Anfield.

But talk of a Real Madrid move for Xabi Alonso will not go away.

Madrid sources have already linked young strikers Alvaro Negredo and Alberto Bueno as makeweights in any possible deal, while Argentina striker Javier Saviola is another option.

And Madrid have 31 year-old Gabriel Heinze in their squad, a player that Benitez was blocked from signing when the full-back was at Manchester United.

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