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Aragones pleads ignorance over Fenerbahce

SoccerNews in European Championships, La Liga 17 Jun 2008

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Spain coach Luis Aragones dismissed speculation linking him with Turkish side Fenerbahce on the eve of Wednesday's Euro 2008 Group D clash against reigning champions Greece.

A report in Spanish newspaper Marca earlier in the day linked the 69-year-old to the post but he claimed to be unaware of any such possibility.

“I know what you know,” he told a press conference here on Tuesday. “Obviously I have an agent and he's working and doing things.

“We all know that I'm going to leave this job once Euro 2008 is over and I've got nothing else to add to that.

“There's also been talk about Club America in Mexico. If I knew more, I'd tell you.”

Aragones is set to completely change his side with only Andres Iniesta, who started in the first two matches, being retained and only because Santi Cazorla has a cold.

Iniesta will play only 45 minutes before being replaced as Aragones looks to rest his first choice players ahead of a quarter-final against either France, Italy or Romania.

Aragones did something similar two years ago at the World Cup against Saudi Arabia after Spain had won their first two matches against Ukraine and Tunisia.

They beat the Saudis 1-0 but then lost in the next round to France and Spanish journalists accused the players of having lost concentration due to having been rested.

“This is what you think, they lost nothing,” insisted Aragones. “They won three matches and then played France.

“Until the 80th minute France were no better than Spain.

“What this team needs is to rest, as any team and all teams that are already qualified would do the same.

“Some rest everyone and some rest just some players.

“We have two players for every position and we're going to play all of them.”

Asked who he would like to face in the next round, Aragones was keeping things close to his chest.

“I said from the start that Romania are dark horses but no-one believed me.

“But whoever we play it will be difficult. If it's Romania, it's Romania, if not it's another team.”

Ruben de la Red said Spain need to overcome their own demons more than worrying about anyone else.

“The truth is that our greatest rival is ourselves,” he said. “There's no one of the three teams that we'd rather play.

“Apart from the Netherlands they're all about the same level, we need to look after ourselves and we'll play whoever.”

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, who has a daughter named Greece and will play on Wednesday, admitted it would be a surprise if they faced Romania next.

“It makes no difference to us. If we have to play Romania it's true it would be a surprise but that's to their credit,” he said.

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