Real admit defeat over Alonso

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The Independent Football

Real Madrid have given up in their pursuit of Liverpool's Xabi Alonso.

The Liverpool playmaker, who came close to leaving Anfield last summer, has been linked with a move to the Bernabeu all summer.

Amid the growing rumours, Liverpool felt compelled to issue an official statement on Sunday, reiterating that the 27-year-old is not for sale.

Real appear to have taken notice of Liverpool's wishes, with sporting director Jorge Valdano saying: "Liverpool have issued an official statement to the public – Xabi is a player who has little chance of joining Real Madrid.

"We tried hard to sign him a few years ago. We had a meeting with Real Sociedad but, when I left [Madrid], they lost interest in him."

Meanwhile, Liverpool are reportedly on the verge of making Glen Johnson their first purchase of the summer.

Reports today suggest Portsmouth have accepted a bid of £18.5m for the England right-back, who was named Portsmouth's player of the season for the term just gone.

The 24-year-old joined the south coast team from Chelsea two season's ago for a fee of £4m but interest from Liverpool, as well as a possible return to Chelsea and interest from Manchester City has seen his value sky-rocket.