Rafa: Valencia approach is illegal

Rafael Benitez has responded to the earlier story relating to comments made by Valencia president Jaun Soler. Soler had been speaking to a radio station in Valencia and said he’d been in talks with Liverpool striker Milan Baros.

Benitez left Valencia last summer to join Liverpool, and Valencia had to be taken to court by the Spaniard in order for him to be paid money they owed him. Now it seems Valencia could be on the wrong side of FIFA rules.

In our original report we pointed out that unless Liverpool had given permission – perhaps with a view to some form of swap deal – that Valencia would not be entitled to speak to Baros. Now Rafa has confirmed that to his knowledge, valencia do not have permission to speak to Baros: "It is illegal to talk to a player with two more years of his contract to go. I prefer not to talk about these things, and I need to discuss this with people at this club – but the situation is that he is our player and has two more years of his contract with this club still to go."

Baros was signed for Liverpool by Gerard Houllier, and struggled to get a place in the starting line-up throughout the Houllier reign. He then became the top scorer in Euro 2004. This season he’s been asked to play out wide or to start from the bench, but has certainly had more opportunities than he had in previous seasons. He’s unavailable for tomorrow’s Premier League game at Manchester City due to suspension after being sent off against Everton.

Baros has complained publically on more than one occasion about Rafael Benitez – including during Euro 2004, when he was upset that Benitez had visited Owen and Gerrard in the England camp but had not been to see him in the Czech camp. Benitez is probably going to lose any patience he had left for the player if these relevations turn out to be true. His final words on the situation were: "I am not worried about Baros. If what their president has said is true maybe it is time to ask them about the situation."

Baros’ Czech team-mate Vladimir Smicer has already announced that he’s pretty much all set to leave Liverpool in the summer.