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REAL MADRID

Xabi Alonso opens up on the possibility of managing Real Madrid

The Spaniard, who currently manages Bayer Leverkusen, has been linked with the Madrid club this week. Today, he addressed the rumours.

The Spaniard, who currently manages Bayer Leverkusen, has been linked with the Madrid club this week. Today, he addressed the rumours.
INA FASSBENDERAFP

Xabi Alonso, current manager of Bayer Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga, was questioned this Friday during his pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Mainz about the rumours surrounding him and Real Madrid. The ex-Spanish international was not keen on saying whether he would see out his contract - which runs until 2026 - in Germany, preferring to dodge the question, saying that it was not the right moment.

It’s too early”, he said, “we’re in September, so it’s not something to deal with now”, before saying “of course I’m focussed, we have started the season well and I have to be the first person to remain focussed.” In Germany, Xabi’s team sit second in the league, yet many took his words as a lack of commitment to his current role at Leverkusen.

Alonso ducks to avoid Madrid rumours

Alonso decided to duck and dive his way past the Real Madrid question, but the questions surrounding the rumour that places him as the summertime successor to Carlo Ancelotti - who is rumoured himself to be the next manager of the Brazilian national team - did not go away.

When asked if the speculation could affect the dressing room, Alonso was clear: “I know how football works. It wasn’t a problem for anyone. We didn’t even speak about it”. For now, however, Xabi does not want to commit his long term future to Leverkusen.

Xabi Alonso has impressed since he moved to Germany.
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Xabi Alonso has impressed since he moved to Germany. CHRISTOPHER NEUNDORFEFE

Why is Alonso linked with Real Madrid?

The rumours surrounding the potential move for the Spaniard came after Real Madrid’s heavy loss to Atlético Madrid, as Los Blancos looked lost in a new system devised by Carlo Ancelotti (check out his recent press conference) to mitigate the fact that they have replaced current Ballon d’Or holder Karim Benzema with Joselu up front. Also, the club spent a long time targeting Kylian Mbappé, meaning other striking options such as Harry Kane were discarded. As such, Madrid struggled against Atleti and lost 3-1 away from home, prompting mumblings of a change in the dugout for next season.

Leverkusen have started the season in superb fashion, sitting second in the league table with 13 points after 5 games, and are level on points with Bayern Munich, who are ahead on goal difference. After the league game against Mainz, who are bottom of the table, they play Molde in the UEFA Europa League in a group that also contains Qarabag and Häcken. His team play an exciting brand of football and last season they finished the league in 6th place, winning 14 out of 34 games.