SPANISH SOCCER

Xabi Alonso: “I’m not leaving Real Madrid because of a tantrum”

Midfielder explains why is swapping the Bernabéu for Guardiola’s Bayern Munich

Xabi Alonso during his press conference at the Bernabéu on Friday.
Xabi Alonso during his press conference at the Bernabéu on Friday.DANI POZO / AFP

Real Madrid has confirmed the transfer of Xabi Alonso to Bayern Munich, where he will play under the orders of Spanish coach Pep Guardiola.

The Basque midfielder held a press conference at Real’s Santiago Bernabéu stadium on Friday morning to explain his decision, accompanied by the club’s director of institutional relations, Emilio Butragueño. “It was a very considered decision,” said the 32-year-old, who is signing a two-year contract with the German club. “It’s got nothing to do with a tantrum.”

Over the summer Real signed German Toni Kroos to play in the same position as Alonso, who saw himself relegated to the bench for the club’s first match of the season against Córdoba. But the Spaniard said he did not feel that his place was threatened. “I had the confidence of the club here and of the coach, and I would have played a lot of minutes.”

It’s a sad day because it closes a wonderful period. It is the most difficult decision of my life”

He added: “It’s a sad day because it closes a wonderful period. It is the most difficult decision of my life – leaving Madrid is never easy.

“After ending last year with the great triumph of the Décima [Real’s long-awaited 10th Champions League win], I feel that it is time to start a new stage. I wanted to be honest with myself and with the club,” he said.

Alonso is hoping his move to Germany will provide him with two things. First, the opportunity to face the sporting challenge of demonstrating that he is better than Kroos. And second, to learn the positional soccer coaching method with the coach he most admires: Guardiola.

The midfielder’s friends say he dreams of earning his coaching license and, though he will not admit it in public, wants to coach a big team in Spain. Given that it will likely be difficult for him to do so at Barcelona, he needs to ready himself to return to Real Madrid and offer his services to club president Florentino Pérez.

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