Star set to leave in summer
Rafael Benitez today hailed the 'fantastic service' offered by Fabio Aurelio over the last four years as he revealed the Brazilian would leave Anfield this summer.
Benitez admitted the left-back - who signed on a free from Valencia in 2006 - would be a big loss next term.
"Fabio's contract is nearly finished and he is going to leave us," said Benitez.
"We had been trying to work something out with regards an extension but it was a pity that we couldn't. He has given us absolutely fantastic service.
"Fabio is a top professional, a great player and a really good lad. I mean every single word I say about him.
"It has been a pleasure having him here and we really will miss him"
Having worked with Benitez during his six years at the Mestalla, Aurelio joined Liverpool on the back of our 2006 FA Cup triumph.
He made his debut as a substitute in the Community Shield victory over Chelsea, though the full-back's season was ended prematurely when he ruptured his Achilles' tendon during a Champions League quarter-final win over PSV.
Such dreadful luck marred Aurelio's first two seasons in England, though it was plain to see when he did feature that here was a technically gifted player capable of achieving great things at Anfield.
It was not until the sustained title charge of 2008-09 that Kopites got to see what their No.12 could do on a regular basis. His free-kick past Edwin van der Sar in a 4-1 triumph at Old Trafford will live long in the memory, while Petr Cech also fell victim to Aurelio's deadly left foot in an ill-fated Champions League quarter-final with Chelsea.
Sadly, injury concerns again reared their head throughout 2009-10.
"The one problem we had with Fabio was that he suffered too many injuries and it was such a pity because he has great quality," said Benitez.
"When he was in the team, we were always able to play the ball out from the back and keep it because he uses possession so well.
"With Fabio being out so much, it meant that we had to use Emiliano Insua more than we would have liked and that was not easy for him.
"You can say things about players. But with Fabio, you are talking about an amazing person who gave 100 per cent all the time. We wish him all the best."
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