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Benitez not prepared to sell Liverpool's Xabi

Benitez recently came out in public to criticise his £10 million midfielder, telling him he must work harder in order to get back into the team.

"I met the player's agent this week, because he was over for the Inter Milan game, and I said to him clearly that Xabi must be here for the future," Benitez explained.

"He has just signed a long contract and I made it quite clear that Xabi is going nowhere, he will not be allowed to leave. We talked because there has been speculation in the Spanish media.

"We are both professionals and the relationship changes between a manager and a competitive player when he is not selected.

"All top players want to play and Xabi is a top player and of course he may think that he can go to another top club. But the same could be said if I don't select Mascherano or Leiva. I have had offers for them but I don't want them to leave.

"I told him that he is an important player for Liverpool, both now and in the future.

"We have competition with some top class players, it is nothing personal. It is down to Xabi. He has to train even harder and compete for his place.

"He spoke to me and asked why I said he needed to work harder. I said 'Xabi, I know you work hard, but when you are not playing, the only way to get match fitness and keep that level is to work even harder, no matter hard you already work'."

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Tribal Football Staff

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