views

Benitez: Mascherano not for sale even for 50m

<!--StartFragment--> LIVERPOOL manager Rafael Benitez yesterday warned Barcelona that no amount of money could prise midfielder Javier Mascherano from Anfield.<br /><br />The Argentine ball-winner&rsquo;s agent has encouraged talk of a move to the European champions by declaring his client would welcome a switch.<br /><br />But Benitez has sought to end speculation about Mascherano&rsquo;s future by insisting the 25-year-old is happy on Merseyside. &ldquo;Mascherano has no price. Barcelona could not afford to match his value to Liverpool Football Club. We do not want to sell and Javier is very happy here,&rdquo; said Benitez. &ldquo;I have spoken to Javier two or three times this summer &ndash; the last time was only last week &ndash; and he was very happy, very positive.&rdquo;<br /><br />Benitez said that he had already informed Mascherano&rsquo;s agent Walter Tamer that the player was not for sale this summer.<br /><br />&ldquo;Walter told me that two clubs with big, big names were asking after Mascherano &ndash; and I told him to forget it, that Javier was happy in Liverpool and he was not for sale,&rdquo; added Benitez. &ldquo;So I was surprised to see the agent&rsquo;s comments today. He has a long contract and any club can forget about bidding for him. They can offer &pound;40m or even &pound;50m, we don&rsquo;t want to sell.&rdquo;<br /><br />Benitez also faces a battle to keep Mascherano&rsquo;s central midfield colleague Xabi Alonso, who is a &pound;24m target for Real Madrid. <!--EndFragment-->