Friday, June 08, 2007

Alonso & Reina Sign New Deals

Xabi Alonso said Liverpool’s forceful determination to retain his services led him to reject several offers from Spain as he signed a new five-year contract at Anfield.

Alonso and Pepe Reina yesterday penned new deals committing their future to Liverpool until 2012, ending concerns of a return to La Liga.

Momo Sissoko will also put pen to paper on his contract, possibly today, while unsung hero Steve Finnan has also agreed terms on an extension.

Alonso’s deal came as a huge comfort to Benitez, who was worried about the strength of Barcelona’s interest, but the playmaker had always made his preference to remain on Merseyside clear.

After putting pen to paper, he said: “I knew there was interest from other clubs but it was always my idea to stay here.

“I have been here for three seasons now and have such special feelings for the club and the supporters. I understand what Liverpool FC means to people. It is such a special club and I just didn't want to leave.

“It was a simple decision because I could see right away that the attitude of the club towards me was spot on.

“I greatly appreciate all the hard work that Rick Parry has put in on this contract and the faith that Rafa Benitez has shown in me.

“I want to be part of what lies ahead because I know it is going to be exciting. It's also good news to see that other players have signed new contracts this week.

“Stevie, Carra and Pepe are all big players for us and it's great they have all shown their commitment.

“I'm sure the manager will be bringing in new players as well and that the new owners will be making a big effort to improve the squad.

“I'm really excited because I think we can achieve big things.

“Hopefully we won't make the same mistakes next season as we did last season and we can win some more games. We want to be challenging for the top teams.

“Even though I'm looking forward to a holiday and a rest I can't wait for next season to begin.”

Reina, meanwhile, said he felt there was no club he’d rather be at than Liverpool.

He said: “I spoke with Rafa and his thoughts for the future really excited me. He has ambitions for the team which I want to be part of and I'm sure the other players feel the same.

“The idea now for all of us is to challenge for titles. That's what we'll be looking for.

“Our fans deserve the league title. Seventeen years without winning it is far too long for this club and that's why our biggest target next year has to be the Premiership.”