Saturday, June 22, 2024

Guardiola backs Alonso to seize ´incredible opportunity´ at Leverkusen

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 7 Oct 2022

86 Views

Pep Guardiola is backing Xabi Alonso to make a success of his big break at Bayer Leverkusen.

Former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich midfielder Alonso was named head coach of the Bundesliga team on Wednesday.

It is the 40-year-old’s most prominent role since retiring from playing in 2017, since when he has been building towards a top job, spending three years as coach of Real Sociedad B.

Like Guardiola, Alonso’s playing career was spent largely as a deep-sitting central midfielder. Both men played for Spain, with Guardiola earning 47 caps and Alonso representing his country 114 times.

Alonso won a World Cup and two European Championships in Spain’s golden era of success from 2008 to 2012, a period which coincided with Guardiola’s reign as Barcelona boss.

He later played for Guardiola at Bayern Munich, where Alonso made a great impression on his compatriot and coach.

“He was an exceptional holding midfielder, and when you are an exceptional holding midfielder you have to understand the game,” Guardiola said on Friday.

“He reads perfectly, and he’s a lovely, lovely person.”

Speaking at Manchester City’s regular Friday press conference, Guardiola sent best wishes to Alonso, whose Leverkusen side face Schalke in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Leverkusen sit 17th in the 18-team league, winning one of eight games in the competition so far, form that saw Alonso’s predecessor Gerardo Seoane sacked.

They have finished in the top six in each of the last five seasons, and 12 of the last 13 campaigns, so the club’s standards are high.

Now Alonso steps in, and Guardiola said: “It’s an incredible opportunity. He goes to the Bundesliga, a league that he knows quite well.

“It’s a really good team in the Bundesliga, prestigious, still playing Champions League, I wish him the best, and hopefully he can do the job.”

Leverkusen have failed to win any of their first four home games of a Bundesliga season (D1, L3) for the first time ever. The Schalke game comes at the BayArena, giving Alonso the chance to immediately halt that dismal run.

It happens that Leverkusen have only had more Bundesliga wins against Stuttgart (39) than they have achieved against Schalke (34), with Alonso’s new team unbeaten in their past six league clashes with Die Konigsblauen (W4, D2).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

You can follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/soccernews.com or Twitter: @soccernewsfeed.

SHARE OR COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE

WE RECOMMEND

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This field is required *

Join the conversation!

or Register

Live Scores

advertisement

Betting Guide Advertisement

advertisement

Become a Writer
More More
Top