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Liverpool rival Real Madrid, Barcelona for Fabian Ruiz

Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz is being linked with Liverpool.

European champions Liverpool began the defence of their title with a 2-0 defeat away to Ruiz's Napoli, who sealed the points thanks to a controversial Dries Mertens penalty and a goal from Fernando Llorente.

The Daily Mail says he is being monitored by Liverpool, as well as Real Madrid and Barcelona in his homeland.

Ruiz, who joined Napoli from boyhood club Real Betis for £26.7million last year, models himself on Xavi - so if Liverpool do swoop for him, they may have some persuading to do to sign him if interest from Barcelona is genuine.

"I fell in love with football thanks to him," Ruiz has said of Xavi. "He was a pillar for Barcelona and Spain for so many years and I dream of following in his footsteps."

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Paul Vegas

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