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The Argentina international has fallen behind Karim Benzema in the pecking order at the Santiago Bernabeu and is being tipped to join another of Europe's elite this summer

Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka has revealed that the club are desperate to hold on to striker Gonzalo Higuain.

The Argentina international has been forced to play second fiddle to Karim Benzema this season and has been repeatedly linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu, with Chelsea and Juventus both said to be particularly keen on the player.

It is now believed that Higuain will finally depart the Spanish capital in the summer but Karanka is hoping that the forward stays put.

"Higuain is an important player for us," Jose Mourinho's right-hand man told reporters at a press conference on Friday. "We are counting on him next year and we don't want him to leave."

Meanwhile, Karanka admitted that Madrid's players are in party mood after clinching the Liga title with a 3-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday and that those players who have featured intermittently this term will see some game time against Granada this weekend.

"We achieved our objective which was winning the league and now it is time to celebrate it," Karanka enthused.

"Now it's time to give opportunities to those who didn't have chances to play this season but our goal is the three points. Our goal against Granada is to win the game."

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