ANFIELD alarm bells were ringing again last night, after Javier Mascherano admitted he was “flattered” by reports linking him with a summer move to Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Both Barca and Madrid have been strongly linked to the Argentina captain as they look to strengthen their squads this summer, and while Rafael Benitez has made it clear he will not entertain any bids for his influential holding midfielder, Mascherano has spoken about Barca's interest.
Speaking to Spanish magazine Don Balon he declared: “It's really flattering. For me it means great recognition because we are talking about big clubs.”
Mascherano still has three years left on his contract at Anfield and declared: “I feel comfortable at Liverpool.”
But he added: “It's always good to know that teams like Barca and Madrid are interested in you. I feel very grateful.”
Mascherano also spoke highly of Benitez.
“(He is) excellent. He's a perfectionist, working down to the smallest detail that you can imagine.
“Fortunately he has renewed his contract, meaning his ties to the club continue and this will give more calm to everybody.”
Benitez is bracing himself for a bid from Barcelona, but has already made it clear that any club planning to lure away one of his most influential players would have to come close to matching the £56million Real Madrid paid for Kaka.