Xabi Alonso Opts to Remain Leverkusen Coach Despite Liverpool Interest

Xabi Alonso, who was widely seen as Liverpool’s top target to succeed Jurgen Klopp as manager, announced on Friday that he will stay with Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen next season.

The 42-year-old Spaniard is leading Leverkusen to a prize treble, including their first German Bundesliga title.

“It’s been a season of speculation regarding my future,” Alonso told a press conference.

“Up till now we have been busy and focused on the season and I wanted to reflect during the international break and take a decision.

“Last week I had a meeting when I informed (Leverkusen’s directors) of my decision to continue being coach of Bayer Leverkusen.”

Alonso said he was still developing as a coach and he felt Leverkusen, his first senior team coaching post, is the best place for him to continue growing.

“At the moment this is the right place for me to develop as a coach, I am a young coach,” he said.

“Right now this is the right place. I have to thank the management.

“The club had been supportive and I feel respected by all departments.”

Alonso has a contract until 2026, although he has been linked with moves to Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich, all of which he previously played for after impressing at Bundesliga leaders Leverkusen.

Leverkusen is unbeaten this season with 34 wins and four draws, 10 points ahead of Bayern Munich, and on track for their first Bundesliga title with eight games remaining.

The former Spain midfielder, who was part of the teams that won the Euros in 2008 and 2012, as well as the World Cup in 2010, is aiming for three titles.

Aside from topping the table, they are in the German Cup final four and the Europa League quarterfinals, and they might face Liverpool in the final.

When Alonso was hired coach of Leverkusen in October 2022, he had only coaching experience with the Real Sociedad B club, but he demonstrated natural talent as a coach by saving them from relegation.


 ‘Strong link’

With Alonso out of the running to replace Klopp, Sporting Lisbon head coach Ruben Amorim and Brighton’s Italian manager Roberto De Zerbi are thought to be the frontrunners.

De Zerbi can further impress his possible employers on Sunday when he leads his team to Liverpool, where he has yet to finish second best against Klopp in four encounters.

Klopp, speaking in Liverpool after Alonso’s announcement, said he understood his decision.

“He’s doing a fantastic job there. Klopp stated, “Leverkusen has a good team, and they will most likely keep it together.”

“That is a possibility, but it does not happen every year. So I get why he wants to do it.

Klopp surprised the football world when he revealed in January that he would be leaving Liverpool after a highly successful nine-year tenure.

In 2020, he delivered their first league title since 1990, a year after winning the Champions League.

Alonso chose not to speak directly about the Liverpool vacancy or Bayern Munich, which were trying to get him to replace Thomas Tuchel, who is departing at the end of the season.

Tuchel’s departure is a result of Alonso’s success; if Leverkusen holds their nerve and wins the Bundesliga, Bayern’s streak of 11 consecutive league titles will come to an end.

“I think it wouldn’t be correct of me to talk about other clubs when they are in this situation,” said Alonso, who remains a devoted Liverpool fan and encouraged his son to be one as well.

“For sure there are clubs I have a strong link, I play there. So I respect them. But it’s not correct for me to talk about them right now.

“It’s more that the conviction I am in the right place at Bayer Leverkusen and I want to keep growing with the club, growing with the players.

“I am at this stage in my young career. I had to feel the decision was in a natural way and that’s why I have taken it.”

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