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Liverpool boss Benitez denies pushing Xabi towards Real Madrid

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez insists his relationship with Xabi Alonso did not push him towards Real Madrid.

In a bitter parting, there were suggestions that the relationship between Benítez and Alonso - who was sold for £20 million profit - had broken down. The manager dismissed the theory.

"He put in a transfer request," Benítez told The Times. "We had a professional and good relationship. Some people say the manager must put his arm around the player's shoulder. I don't know too many managers who do this. Some managers here in England don't even see the training sessions. How can you put your arm around the shoulders of the players if you are not there?"

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