Atletico Want The Liverpool Trio Of Pepe Reina, Alvaro Arbeloa And Xabi Alonso

Pepe Reina, Alvaro Arbeloa and Xabi Alonso are all being monitored by Atletico de Madrid as the Spanish outfit are keen to make a triple bid in the summer to land them all.

Atletico de Madrid are considering making an approach for Pepe Reina, Alvaro Arbeloa and Xabi Alonso from Liverpool, but may wait to see what happens to Rafael Benitez, according to a report in AS.

Los Colchoneros are already drawing up plans for next season's squad and the Anfield trio are the main players that the club believe can bolster their squad.

Last summer Atletico coach Javier Aguirre wanted a playmaking midfielder and pinpointed Alonso only for him to appear to be ready to go to Juventus, before the Italian outfit opted to Christian Poulsen instead.

Now the Mexican trainer is intent on attracting Alonso to compliment the impressive forward line of Sergio Agüero, Diego Forlan, Mai and Simao.

Benitez would probably not want all three of the Spanish players to leave Liverpool if he were to stay but a new manager may allow them to go to raise funds.

That may be the only way that Atletico could prise Reina away as they are desperate to land the son of goalkeeper, Miguel Reina, who played in the 1974 European Cup Final.

Arbeloa may prove to be an easier proposition, but even the Spanish international defender is seen as a vital squad member by the Merseyside outfit.

One way that the club could be assured to having a chance of signing the trio would be to make Benitez the coach and that could be a realistic proposition towards the end of the season.

Ronaldo's A Show Off, Gerrard's The Best - Guus Hiddink

Tsar Hiddink believes his colleagues were fooled by hype, glamour and a fancy haircut when voting for the best player on the planet...

To most observers, Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo was the obvious choice for the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year award.

The Portuguese star netted 42 goals in all competitions as he helped the Red Devils champions of England and Europe, and even those - and there are many - who despise him as a person cannot overlook his footballing exploits of last year.

Russia boss Guus Hiddink, however, reckons the rest of the international game's coaches and captains were duped by the 23-year-old's flashy style and magazine-cover appearance.

"Cristiano Ronaldo is a good-looking footballer, he looks fit and, oh yes, his hair is always in place. But him winning the award is too much about glamour," Hiddink said in The Daily Mail.

Some have suggested that Lionel Messi could have pipped Ronaldo, due to his performances for Barcelona in the second half of the year and his success at the Olympics with Argentina last summer.

The Blaugrana sensation polled second in the award, though, while Fernando Torres took out third after a brilliant debut season with Liverpool.

But nor does Hiddink think either of these two young superstars deserved to be crowned the greatest player on the planet, for he believes Torres' skipper at Anfield should have got the nod.

"I very much preferred (Steven) Gerrard. He has superb technical and tactical qualities and I admire his spirit and attitude on the pitch," the Dutchman said.

"It has everything to do with his passion for the game and my passion for football. He is a player who fans can identify themselves with and a man who carries the love for his club on his club badge.

"There is not another player in the world who combines all those qualities. He is the type of player who appeals so much more to me than Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Of course, Ronaldo entertains the crowds and has great skills. But it is too much glamour and show. Gerrard, Barcelona's Xavi and Messi are not as much focused on themselves. They focus on the team."

No prizes for guessing who Hiddink's top three were, then.

Carragher welcomes 'mind games'

Jamie Carragher believes the fact that Liverpool are involved in the latest 'mind games' proves they are genuine title contenders.Reds boss Rafael Benitez fired the first shot at rival manager Sir Alex Ferguson recently, sparking an early war of words amongst the two.

But Carragher insists the 'mind games' merely represent Liverpool's progression as contenders.

"Being involved in the mind games is a good thing. We've always been on the outside looking in, something we're not proud of.

"I've always had respect for them (Manchester United). They're a proper club, like us, and they should have respect for us as well" stressed the reds defender.

Liverpool have not won a League title since 1990 as United look to equal their record of 18 League titles this season.

Despite only losing one league game this season, Liverpool's five home draws have cost them the lead at the top of the table, prompting Ferguson to suggest they are nervous.

"Will we get nervous? I haven't got a clue" replied Carragher.

"I'm not going to put an act on and say no, because I've never been there. It's only January. It's embarrassing, really, that I've only been in this position once, with Gerard Houllier".

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