Xabi Alonso has been doing a fine job with Bayer Leverkusen and he’s now being heavily linked with the Liverpool job.
With Jurgen Klopp set to step aside at Anfield at the end of the campaign, Alonso is fancied by many as the man to take over at Anfield.
His Bayer Leverkusen side currently top the Bundesliga and remain the only team in Europe’s top five leagues who are yet to lose this season.
Having worked under some of the most decorated coaches around – Rafael Benitez, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti to name just four – the 42-year-old has had quite the education during his playing career. Here are nine quotes to explain his managerial philosophy.
“The first lesson that I learned from them is that the players need to follow you, they need to believe in what they are doing, they need to know that they are improving with you coaching, with your help,” Alonso told Diario AS.
“We want to play modern football. That means: intensity with and without the ball, being more active than passive and with a strong mentality.
“The team has to know how we want to play. Dominant, intense, controlled, with a winning mentality and that should be from the first kick-off until the final whistle. I will try to give the players clear instructions and ideas.”
— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04_en) January 8, 2024
“Once I retired, I knew that I would take the step into dugout and I believed the words of Johan Cruyff: ‘The most beautiful thing is to play football, the second best thing is to coach,’” Alonso told l’Equipe after he first went into coaching.
“How the people speak about him – all the managers that he had in his career – is like a human being. One of the best midfielders I’ve ever seen in my life.
“He understands the game and has curiosity to understand the game. He knew during the weeks what we would have to do to win the next games, to beat them. He already had the curiosity to know.”
“He ticks all the boxes as a former Liverpool player who knows the club and city, is adored by the fans and has already shown in the Bundesliga that he is one of the most exciting young coaches in the world,” Carragher told The Telegraph.
“His wealth of experience playing under the greatest coaches of his generation – Rafa Benitez, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola – mean it is only a matter of time before one of the elite clubs appoint him. You can never choose the right time for such an opportunity. It may be now.”
“He has the quality that a ‘metronome’ must have. I’m sure that when he hangs up his boots he’ll be a great coach if he wants to be,” Mourinho told the official FIFA website back in 2010.
“He reminds me of Pep Guardiola when I had him as a player. He was already a coach on the pitch.”
“I had him as a player. He has a high-level knowledge of football, he is doing very well with Bayer Leverkusen,” Ancelotti told reporters during a press conference.
“I wish him to be here one day, like Raul or Arbeloa. They are people I know and I love them very much. I hope one day they can be Real Madrid coaches.”
“His father managed the club [Real Sociedad] before I did and Xabi had been farmed out to a Second Division club. I brought him straight back and gave him his debut,” Toshack told LFC History, earmarking qualities as a young player that make him an ideal candidate for the transition into coaching.
“Initially he was a little off the pace but his speed of thought was faster than anybody else and his range of passing was perfect.”
Karl Heinz Rummenigge
“I think Xabi Alonso will be an interesting coach for Bayern at some point in the future,” the former Bayern Munich CEO told Bild in 2020.
“He’s a great guy, a smart guy. Xabi has that empathy that you need especially with today’s generation of players.”
“I think he is pragmatic in his approach to football,” The Guardian writer said, speaking on The Spanish Football Podcast.
“This is a guy who embraced the methods of Pep Guardiola, of Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, and he has taken bits from all of them, and he is clearly very bright.”
Lived it. Loved it.
Farewell beautiful game. pic.twitter.com/1aSN7GGNzZ
— Xabi Alonso (@XabiAlonso) March 9, 2017