15 Jan 2014

The Dream is Dead: €9m star denies LFC/Chelsea made 'offers'. For the best...?

Over the last couple of years, Liverpool hero Xabi Alonso has been regularly linked with a return to Anfield, and on several occasions, the Spanish maestro has fanned the flames of speculation himself. The dream is officially over now, though, as Alonso has signed a two-year extension with Real Madrid. Were LFC ever in with a chance of re-signing the Spaniard? Was the club even interested?

When asked over the weekend if he received any offers from Liverpool or Chelsea, €9m-rated Alonso told the BBC:

"There were no offers, I decided to stay and that's it"

This seems to tie-in with Alonso's comments last summer, when he told reporters:

"The Premier League? No. There's no way, no chance"

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers also ruled out a move for Alonso in one of his press conferences last summer:

"Xabi Alonso was an incredible player for this club, a wonderful role model, but he is in a different moment in his career with Real Madrid"

Alonso is a bona-fide world class midfield with peerless experience, but I submit that he does not fit the Brendan Rodgers player template, i.e. incredibly fit players who engage in high-intensity pressing. Alonso is arguably more talented than any of LFC's current midfielders, but he just doesn't have the legs to hassle and harry players for 90 minutes, game-in, game-out.

That's not his game, anyway. Yes, Alonso does his share of pressing/tackling, but overloading him with that defensive responsibility (as Benitez did, when he tried to turn Alonso into a holding midfielder) dulls the Spaniard's effectiveness. Alonso should be the metronome; the beating heart of the team, and his focus should be on building attacks, not breaking them down.

I would've hated to see Alonso return to LFC and play second fiddle to inferior players, but that's what would've happened (IMO). It would've been Jari Litmanen all-over again. In the early 00s, Liverpool brought Litmanen - one of true greats of European football - to Anfield, but Gerard Houllier decided that Emile Heskey was a better player, and used him much more often. I still feel nauseous thinking about that.

Another former Reds star, Alvaro Arbeloa, is ecstatic that Alonso is staying, and speaking to Real's official website , he enthused:

"Xabi is irreplaceable. It would have been a blow if he’d have gone. There is no other player like him in the world"

Alonso also revealed that Carlo Ancelotti played a big part in his decision to remain at the Bernebeau:

"I am happy here and Ancelotti is one of those who has pushed most for me to stay. His public support for me was also important in my decision to stay."

Given the importance to Alonso of 'public support', his determination to leave Liverpool in 2009 (after Rafa Benitez's shameless and very public attempt to replace him with Gareth Barry) becomes even more understandable (!)

Alas, when all is said and done, the sad truth Reds fans must accept is that Xabi Alonso will never again strut his stuff at Anfield in the red shirt of Liverpool FC :-(



  1. Alonso is a legend and will always be. Pity that the idea of replacing him with Gareth Barry was the final nail in the coffin. Then we got Aquilani :-o

    Alonso would have still been at the club if it wasn't for someone who's name starts with an R.

  2. It was not really ever going to happen, the PL is faster than ever now!!!

  3. BR's player template, i.e. incredibly fit players who engage in high-intensity pressing?
    Hmmmm...is somebody going to let the players know that this is what is expected of them soon? I have yet to see more than one half of this phenomonon.

  4. We have been much better in the second half of matches lately. Fact!

  5. Alonso would have been preferable to Jorginho who we're linked with today. He plays just like Allen but doesn't tackle as well, and of his 7 goals this season 5 were penalties! Also 7 stone wet through and about 5ft 7, so imagine at corners we have Coutinho, Sterling Allen and Jorginho defending, Nightmare!!!

  6. 5'11" 143lbs really...but you got the weight right...needs to get on Raheem's weight program as soon as he gets here.

  7. Like I said...not more than one half. I will admit we have been better...but I would disagree with 'much' better.

  8. His first and final seasons with us will be remembered fondly. Everything in between we can all put the rose tinted specs on for. When Chelsea beat us in the semis (or quarters :S) of the CL Alonso got battered, bullied all over the pitch that night. I was hoping he got sold too. Xabi got confortBLE and probably wouldnt have had the season he had if he didn't have that extra needle and fire in his belly. Although not as technically gifted as xavi, Barry has consistently been very good in the prem and went on to win titles and is proving to be quite the continuity player for Everton too. ahhh well Que Sera, Sera

  9. One of those rarer times when I agree with most of what you've said here. Alonso is unquestionably a brilliant player but he's not quite in the mould of what Rodgers would want in the team. His greater skills would have been underutilised while the things he's not so good at would have let him down and worked him too hard. I hope he remains a central figure for Real Madrid, he deserves that.