Xabi Alonso left out some big names

An outrageously good XI left out of Xabi Alonso’s ultimate Champions League XI

Back in 2015, Xabi Alonso named his ultimate Champions League XI and he was forced to snub some pretty big names in the process.

The former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich star predominately included his former team-mates in his XI, although there were some notable exceptions to this.

During an interview with the Daily Mail, Alonso named the following XI: Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol, David Alaba, Steven Gerrard, Xavi, Paul Scholes, Zinedine Zidane, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Using players that Alonso has played with at both club and international level, we’ve assembled an outrageously good XI that were snubbed from his initial side.

GK: Iker Casillas

We can hardly begrudge Alonso’s choice of Neuer, but leaving Casillas out was a pretty big call. The pair played together at club and international level and won numerous trophies alongside each other.

However, despite the reputation that Casillas holds, Alonso is adamant that Neuer is the best goalkeeper he has ever played alongside.

“I have played with some fantastic goalkeepers, but he [Neuer] is the best,” Alonso said. “It isn’t just the ability he has to make saves, but how good he is outfield and the fantastic composure that he always shows on the ball.”

RB: Dani Carvajal

The Spanish full-back is often overlooked in these teams, despite boasting a better trophy cabinet than most. To be fair to Alonso, he only played one season alongside Carvajal and his pick of Lahm is more than justified.

With that being said, it’s only right that we give the Real Madrid full-back his flowers. An ever-present member of the starting XI since his return to the club in 2013, he’s won everything on offer at club level.

QUIZ: Can you name Real Madrid’s XI from Xabi Alonso’s debut in 2009?

CB: Javier Mascherano

Since Alonso only included one Liverpool player in his own XI, we thought it was only right to throw a couple of them into our XI.

The versatile Argentinean spent three and a half years at Liverpool before he then enjoyed some great years at Barcelona. Being a two-time Champions League winner, we think he’s a worthy inclusion in this XI.

CB: Pepe

Alonso was spoilt for choice at the back and while his picks of Ramos and Puyol are more than valid, we wanted to show some love to Pepe.

The Portuguese menace is still going strong today for Porto and he’s only two years younger than Alonso who retired seven years ago. Together at Real Madrid, the pair won plenty of trophies alongside one another.

LB: Marcelo

You could easily make the case that Marcelo is the greatest left-back of his generation. Certainly from an attacking point of view, there aren’t many who come close to him.

However, despite the Brazilian’s lofty achievements in the game, Alonso instead opted for Alaba in his XI stating: “When I joined Bayern it was him [Alaba] and Neuer who impressed me the most.”

RM: Arjen Robben

We were spoilt for choice in this position. It was a toss-up between Gareth Bale and Robben. As Alonso spent more time playing with the Dutch winger, we just gave him the edge in this XI.

Coincidentally, Alonso assisted Robben during his last-ever game for Bayern Munich. Of course, it was a template Robben goal with him cutting inside from the right-hand side.

CM: Luka Modric

To be fair to Alonso, when he picked his own XI in 2015, Modric was still yet to reach the peak of his powers. The pair spent a few years together at Real Madrid, but the Croatian maestro really came into his own from 2015 onwards.

Even to this day at the ripe old age of 38, he’s still doing the business for Carlo Ancelotti’s side when called upon.

CM: Andres Iniesta

Alonso gave Xavi the edge over Iniesta in his own XI, stating: “So much of Spain’s success was because we played with so many midfield players, and Xavi was at the centre of everything.”

We can hardly argue with that, although Iniesta is just as worthy of making the XI. There can be little doubt that the diminutive Spanish playmaker ranks among the best midfielders of all time.

LM: Franck Ribery

During his peak, there weren’t many players around who could do it better than Ribery. He won a whopping 23 trophies during his 12-year stay in Germany and enjoyed some great moments alongside Alonso too.

The perfect blend of pace, skill and final product, Ribery had most full-backs on toast during his heyday.

ST: Fernando Torres

Prior to the Chelsea switch, Torres was like lightning in a bottle. Alonso was lucky enough to play alongside the Spanish forward during his peak years at Anfield around the late noughties.

The striker enjoyed his peak in 2007–08 as he bagged 33 goals for Liverpool across all competitions. The standard of his goals was absolutely obscene too.

Fernando Torres celebrates scoring in the Premier League match between Liverpool and Sunderland at Anfield, Liverpool, March 2010.

READ: A tribute to Fernando Torres at Liverpool, a striker who could do it all

ST: Karim Benzema

With five Champions League trophies under his belt, we could hardly snub Benzema from this XI, could we? Alonso arrived at Real Madrid during the same summer as Benzema and the pair won five trophies together.

“I love how he plays and links up with his teammates. I’ve always been keen on this kind of forward. I believe he’s one of the best of the last decade,” Alonso told Real Madrid’s official website in 2018.

“He’s a spectacular player, the kind of guy I would always like to have as a teammate and as a player in general. He’s not a number nine in the box, he’s got a lot more to his game than that. He comes short, frees up the space.”

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TRY A QUIZ: Can you name the 35 top goalscorers in Champions League history?