Bayern Munich's Xabi Alonso sat down to chat with the Liverpool Echo about some of the key moments in his career, including when he left Liverpool to join Real Madrid in 2009. The Basque midfielder, who will be hanging his boots up at the end of the season, confessed that he could have signed for Arsenal or Juventus - a move which never materialized because of a difference of three million pounds from Liverpool's asking price: "[Rafa] Benítez was quite open and he showed me his cards clearly. I said to him as well, of course I need to accept this, you are the ones who make the decisions but in the end, nothing happened".
Xabi Alonso, no problems with Benítez
At the time, Benítez was hoping to sign Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry as an alternative to Xabi who had been struggling to shake off a metatarsal injury. The Spaniard affirmed that he had no problems with the Liverpool manager during their time together at Anfield: "That's football - I had no problems with him. The thing about the birth of my first child, that had nothing to do with it because the talk we had was during the summer. I suppose my mindset changed a little because I wasn't expecting the manager to tell me that I could be sold, but that's all".
A question of money was the reason why Xabi didn't end up joining Arsène Wenger's Arsenal or Juventus: "I was really close to signing for Juventus and I was close to joining Arsenal, but I think Liverpool were asking for 18 million [pounds] and they both offered 15...that's why it didn't happen".
Real Sociedad transfer record
Curiously, a difference of 3 million euros had determined Xabi's move to Merseyside in 2004. Real Sociedad put a price tag of 18 million euros on the player but Real Madrid, eager to find a replacement for Claude Makélélé, were only willing to go to 15. When Rafa Benítez got wind of the situation, he persuaded Liverpool to meet the player's buy-out - the Basque club's record transfer until Antoine Griezmann moved to Atlético for 30 million euros in 2014.
It worked out to perfection for Xabi; who knows if he might have found himself down the pecking order and may never even have broken into that Real Madrid side. As it was he won the Champions League in his first season at Anfield, and Florentino paid 35.4 million euros for him - almost double what Liverpool were asking, five years later in the summer of 2009.
Follow the coverage match of the week 29 of the Liga Santander between: Real Madrid-Alavés
- Roque Mesa1007Passes
*Update 27 de marzo de 2017