Liverpool boss Benitez closer to Spain return

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The Daily Mail says rumours are gathering pace that he could be on borrowed time, but there is another scenario. As he approaches his 48th birthday tomorrow, Benitez may yet beat his paymasters to the punch by walking away.

Benitez has form for packing up and leaving whenever boardroom conflict threatens to cramp his style and the outsmarting of Inter Milan's Roberto Mancini and Arsenal's Arsene Wenger will have sent his stock soaring in Italy and his native Spain.

Just as he quit Valencia in despair over a perceived lack of transfer backing, so his exasperated tone on Sunday hinted at a resignation that had nothing to do with calls for chief executive Rick Parry's head.

Valencia are ready to welcome Benitez back after one or two significant boardroom changes and Atletico Madrid are also monitoring his availability.

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