Marcos Alonso talks about Spain, Chelsea renewal, and his father
The new international lease of life that the Chelsea full-back has under Luis Enrique is just another step along an interesting career for the Spaniard.
Away from Stamford Bridge, Spanish defender Marcos Alonso sat down to talk about how his footballing life had developed both for the national team and for his Premier League club, exlaining the role he plays for both, how he sees his future, and the pride he has of his footballing family.
Alonso for Spain
As a recent addition to La Roja, Alonso was asked whether he felt he had now consolidated his place in the Spanish set-up. The Chelsea defender was optimistic, but also realistic.
"I arrived for the first time for the friendly against Argentina, before the World Cup, and now I'm back with Luis Enrique. But we all know that to be involved you need to maintain your best for your club to be in the coach's plans.
"What drives me now is to have some continuity, because this is now my second consecutive call-up. In addition to that, the games in September went well and were accompanied with good results. That also helps."
With four full-backs in the squad for the next two matches, the friendly against Wales and the Nations League game against England, Alonso responded to the challenge from two of the others that play on the left for their clubs, namely, Gayá and Jonny.
"I've always played as a left-back, except on some occasions in Italy for Fiorentina where they put me on the other side. But my natural fit is on the left. If I have to play on the right because the team needs it, I could do that. But, of course, it's not my place."
Alonso's Chelsea future
With Sarri now managing Chelsea, the system normally deployed is with four defenders, while previously under Conte it was with three central, and two wing-backs. Which way does Alonso prefer?
"I feel comfortable with both formulae. I was also part of a three-man defence in Italy, which went very well for me. I liked playing on the wings, especially because of the offensive opportunities that it allows. But I also like to play in the current Sarri system, which is very similar to that of Luis Enrique.
"In modern football the positions, the formation of the team, and the use of spaces, are important. Luis Enrique insists on this, as does my Chelsea coach. For my part I am comfortable and have adapted to this football. My natural position is left-back in a defensive four, but you have to be ready to help the team in whatever the manager requires.
Alonso was asked about the players filling his position in the 'big three' LaLiga teams: Marcelo (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona) and Filipe Luis (Atlético) and what it meant that they were all in over 30 years of age.
"That says that the three players mentioned are very good left-backs. Today being 30 in the game is not really old. Physical preparation, necessary care, nutrition, sports medicine have all evolved a lot. These days you can perform at a very high level even beyond the age of 35."
Regarding links with him and Real Madrid, especially with Courtois having made the move and Eden Hazard flirting with the same destination, Alonso seemed settled.
"What I can say is that I am very relaxed and happy at Chelsea, and that the club must also be pleased with me because I still have two years left on the contract and they have offered me an extension. We are already in advanced talks about a renewal."
"If everything goes well, I think I will renew before the end of this month. In the coming days."
Alonso's footballing family
Marcos Alonso made history representing Spain, becoming part of the first family to have three generations involved (his father and grandfather also playing for the national team). How did he feel about this achievement?
"I feel a lot of pride and joy, of course, and also a sense of responsibility. But it is very nice and will be in the history books of the national team.
"As well as that, I have more family that played for Spain. My maternal great grandfather, my mother's grandfather, was also a footballer. His name was Zabala and he played for Athletic Club, Barça and for the national team. I am the third generation of Marcos Alonso, but from my mother's side I also have football running through my veins.
So, does he talk to his father much about football? He sure does.
"Not only do we talk a lot about football, but we also watch a lot together, both live and on television. We each have our own views and ideas."