Alonso: Why I Had To Quit Liverpool

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Xabi Alonso knew his time at Liverpool was up a year ago.

The Spain midfielder has now revealed the full details behind a dramatic £28million Anfield exit.

Alonso admits the decision to skip a Champions League match for the birth of his son almost three years ago caused a rift with manager Rafa Benitez.

And the midfielder admits he found it hard to accept being classed as a cash cow when Benitez tried to sell him a year ago.

Alonso, 27, is now one of the next generation of Real Madrid ‘Galacticos’ after his switch last month.

But only now has he spoken out about his relationship with fellow Spaniard Benitez – and the joy of feeling wanted at Real.

He said: “It was a tough call and a very difficult decision to make after five years at the club.

“I have always said that it has been a professional relationship. I have always tried to do what he asked me to do, to try to deliver on the pitch, to do the talking on the pitch.”

Benitez made no secret of wanting to bring Gareth Barry to the club from Aston Villa last year.

Alonso was identified as the valuable asset to fund the move. The deal did not materialise and Barry ended up joining Manchester City in the most recent transfer window.

And Alonso added: “Last summer when the club proposed I had to be sold to get funds to sign new players. It was difficult to accept that.

“I accept it as a professional but that moment probably changed my mind – and I thought, maybe, from that moment it was maybe time for a change.”

Benitez did little to disguise his displeasure with playmaker Alonso when he opted out of a Champions League last-16 second leg at Inter Milan – with Liverpool leading 2-0 – to be with his pregnant wife.

Alonso’s partner Nagore gave birth to son Jon but one of the greatest moments of the player’s life signalled a downturn in his relationship with his boss.

Hardliner Benitez demands ultimate commitment from his highly-paid stars – he did not leave Liverpool’s Club World Cup match in Japan in 2005 when his father died.

But Alonso said: “When the birth of my child happened, I had to make a decision. I had to be with my family as it was a very important moment.”

The clash of principles and need to rebuild Liverpool to finally challenge bitter rivals Manchester United and Chelsea for the Premier League title had only one inevitable conclusion.

Alonso’s move in early August helped bankroll a £17.5m deal for England right-back Glen Johnson and the £18m signing of Roma midfielder Alberto Aquilani. Alonso left Anfield with a Champions League winner’s medal and FA Cup victory. And the fans’ favourite insists he will never forget the Kop supporters.

He told Sky Sports: “I’ve been lucky enough to experience wonderful nights at Anfield, to experience the support of probably the best fans in the world.

“That’s why I’ve always been very grateful and I will always have them in my mind. It’s been an absolute pleasure.”

Alonso now has to prove himself all over again at Real Madrid.

The world’s biggest club has not won a Champions League for SEVEN years and the expectations in the Bernabeu outweigh even Liverpool’s desperation to win their first Premier League.

The team, including Karim Benzema, Raul Albiol and Alvaro Arbeloa, was assembled at massive cost to out-gun great rivals Barcelona.

Alonso said: “It’s a huge challenge for me and the club. The expectations are high because of the massive investment in new players.

“It has brought a lot of hope to Real supporters and we hope to deliver.

“They thought that they needed a player like me, that’s why they put so much interest in myself. I’m very grateful for that.

“The manager wants me to be the link between defence and attack.”

Alonso is also delighted to play with, instead of against, former Manchester United star Ronaldo.

Portuguese wizard Ron got his dream move to Madrid in the summer for a world record fee.

And now Alonso’s neat and tidy passing game is combined with Ronaldo’s skills, the pair could set Europe alight – with Brazilian Kaka adding to a fearsome squad.

The Spaniard said: “Kaka is a player who comes along every five to 10 years, it is a pleasure to play with him.

“Cristiano is unique, he has been very successful. Now this is a big challenge for him to do as well as he did in the Premier League.”

The Sun

~ by footballdirecta on September 3, 2009.

One Response to “Alonso: Why I Had To Quit Liverpool”

  1. What a shame ,we lost one of the best due to a little lack of empathy

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