Giuly hopes to speak to Rafa, Spanish coach of the year

Barcelona midfielder Ludovic Giuly yesterday used the media in an attempt to get his current club, Barcelona, to start talks on a new deal for him. In the process he acknowledged he’d heard rumours of Liverpool interest, but no direct contact with the Reds.

The 29-year-old French international wants a two-year extension to his current deal, which enters its final year in the summer. Giuly has been playing a central role for Barca of late, but was better known as a right-sided player before that.

He’s also stressing to Barca that he won’t sign a new deal unless they agree to all of his demands: “I’d need a two-year extension to my contract because my current deal expires in June 2007. I’d only sign a new contract at Barca if it was on my terms. If the club rate me and want me to stay, they’ll offer me the deal or at least enter into negotiations on it.”

Just to try and give Barca the impression they have to make some progress soon, he mentioned Liverpool’s boss Rafa Benitez: “I haven’t heard from Rafael Benitez yet, but maybe he’ll call me soon as people keep telling me.”

Benitez was in Spain himself, to pick up the Spanish Coach of the Year award. It is a prestigious award, given by La Comunidad de Madrid. Inevitably the fact he was in Madrid, and seen talking to officials from Madrid, has seen new rumours surface that he’s on his way to becoming Real boss. Rafa made it clear how much he’s content with life at Anfield: “I am very happy at Liverpool and enjoying life in England.” Those close to Rafa insist that he has no intentions of leaving Anfield, and that he’ll be signing a new deal very soon. New investment plans are closer than ever to being put into place, meaning Rafa will have even more funds at his disposal to take the next step with the Reds, which is to bring home the 19th league title for the record-holders.