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Arsenal and Cardiff, who are still playing catch-up in the FA Cup, will settle their 4th round tie on Monday night at the Emirates.

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez hopes to agree a new contract as quickly as possible, although he has admitted he would one day like to coach Real Madrid.

The Spaniard has been in charge at Anfield for four and a half years but his current deal expires in 2010 and there continues to be uncertainty about his long-term future.

Benitez does not believe the situation is helping the club and he is looking to resolve the current impasse.

“Anyone that has just a year left on his contract does not have anything at all and I have only got a year and a half left,” Benitez told The Guardian.

“When people, either within the club or from outside it, realise that the manager only has that much time left then he is dead.

“I’ve got 10 or 12 assistants whose contracts are up in June. How can a manager lead a project properly if the continuity of his staff is not secure for two or three years?”

Benítez denied, however, that he sought total control of transfer dealings during his contract negotiations.

He said: “I would like to clear one thing up – I never asked for complete control.

“I did, however, ask for the power to be able to make my own decisions and run the team the way I see fit. That is not the same thing.”

Benitez worked at Real Madrid earlier in his career as a coach of their youth teams and he admits it would be an honour to return to the Bernabeu at some point.

“I am not thinking about leaving and I hope to be here for a long time but of course Real Madrid would be the perfect ending to anyone’s career,” he explained.

“But my career is not at an end yet.”

Arsenal and Cardiff, who are still playing catch-up in the FA Cup, will settle their 4th round tie on Monday night at the Emirates.

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