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8:54:37 PM
Fletcher staying

Fletcher not for Real claim Hibs

Steven Fletcher
Fletcher won his first Scotland cap against Croatia in March

Manager Mixu Paatelainen expects Steven Fletcher to remain a Hibernian player despite fresh reports linking the striker with a move to Real Madrid.

BBC Scotland has learned that the Spanish giants have watched the 21-year-old on three occasions but have not followed up their interest.

Paatelainen said: "I don't want to waste your time or my time talking about it because there is nothing.

"I spoke to Steven earlier, he was just laughing about it."

Fletcher has been a regular in the Hibs first team for three seasons and won his first Scotland cap against Croatia in March.

Real Madrid first noticed the forward at the 2006 Under-19 European Championship when Scotland reached the final against Spain.

However, Paatelainen insists there has never been any contact between the clubs.

"It doesn't bother me because there is nothing in it," said the Finn.

"Why talk about things that are not there. It is smoke in the air.

"There is no effect on Steven at all. He is having a break after a long season and so as to be ready for pre-season training."

Paatelainen also said he has no plans to sell Abdessalam Benjelloun even though the player is unhappy with his recent lack of first team opportunities.

Benjelloun is currently on international duty with Morocco and will be given extra time off when the players resume pre-season training.

Mixu Paatelainen
Mixu Paatelainen says Fletcher will not be moving to Real Madrid

"It was a difficult season for Benji. He is a fantastic striker and who can score goals," said Paatelainen.

"He scored for Morocco and does that in training all the time.

"He had injuries and when he played we did not get the best out of him. Maybe that was because he was not ready to come back.

"But he is certainly a capable striker and after pre-season training I am sure he will score loads of goals for us.

"You can never say someone is not moving but as far as I am concerned at the moment Benji is staying."

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