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Mascherano flattered by Barcelona and Real interest

Javier Mascherano has increased speculation that he is set to leave Anfield after admitting that he is flattered by the interest of both Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The Catalan side have been linked with the Argentinian midfielder since the end of last season while Madrid have made no secret of their interest in the 25-year-old.

"It's really flattering. For me it means great recognition because we are talking about big clubs," Mascherano told Spanish magazine Don Balon. "I feel comfortable at Liverpool, but it`s always good to know that teams like Barca and Madrid are interested in you. I feel very grateful."

But it's not all doom and gloom for Liverpool fans. Mascherano still has three years to run on his current contract and also spoke about his admiration for Reds boss Rafa Benitez.

"Benitez 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."

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