Forlan plays down Liverpool transfer talk

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The Independent Football

Atletico Madrid striker Diego Forlan has played down speculation linking him with a move to England to join Liverpool.

The 29-year-old Uruguay international has rebuilt his career in Spain following a disappointing stint with Manchester United and Forlan is in no rush to move on.

He told AS: "There are always rumours that I will leave in the newspapers.

"I am very happy though, I have a contract here and I want to qualify for the Champions League.

"The talk about signings is something that the press do for the likes of Real Madrid.

"We are only thinking about the game against Valencia, that we have to do well in if we are to reach the Champions League."

Forlan has scored 46 goals in 79 appearances for the side from the Spanish capital, having previously netted 57 times in 119 outings for Villarreal.

Robert Pires believes Villarreal must win all three of their remaining La Liga games to secure Champions League football for next season.

The Yellow Submarine find themselves three points adrift of fourth-placed Valencia in the race for the final qualifying spot.

However, Villarreal's task is made more difficult by the fact that their next game is against Real Madrid on Saturday.

"It is going to be difficult but I am sure that we can do it," said Pires.

"There are only three games left and we need three wins to be in the Champions League next year.”

Veteran Sevilla defender Javi Navarro has revealed he is likely to retire after failing to recover from a long-running knee injury.

The 35-year-old centre-back has spent most of the last two seasons in the treatment room and has conceded that a fresh comeback is now unlikely.

Navarro has made over 200 appearances for the Andalucian club during eight seasons at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Elsewhere, Florentino Perez has officially confirmed his intention to stand in Real Madrid's presidential elections.

The construction magnate will contest the June elections three years after resigning the post.

Perez's previous reign was characterised by the arrival of some of the world's leading players - or Galacticos - and the 62-year-old former politician has promised more high-profile signings.

"I have not said anything throughout the season as I have not wanted to disturb things," he said while confirming one of the worst kept secrets in Real's season.

"But after the serious events that have occurred recently I have officially decided to announce my decision to stand at the Real Madrid elections."

Perez was in office at the Santiago Bernabeu for six years before resigning in 2006 on the back of three trophyless seasons.

He was responsible for bringing the likes of Luis Figo, Ronaldo and David Beckham to the club.

Meanwhile, Real have failed with an appeal to have Pepe's ten-match ban reduced by the Spanish Football Federation.

The Portugal defender was handed the lengthy punishment following his behaviour during a 3-2 league victory over Getafe last month.

Pepe was sent off for kicking a grounded Javier Casquero after reacting angrily to conceding a late penalty.

He then had to be escorted off the pitch by team-mates after verbally abusing the match officials.

Real argued that the original ten-match ban - which was broken down into two separate punishments - was unfair as Pepe's act was one continuous misdemeanour.

However, at a disciplinary meeting on Thursday, the original punishment was upheld and the defender will now miss the remainder of the current season and the first four matches of the next campaign.