Xabi Alonso explains decision to stay at Bayer Leverkusen next season

Xabi Alonso explains decision to stay at Bayer Leverkusen next season

Xabi Alonso has confirmed he has decided to stay with Bayer Leverkusen next season – rejecting the chance to manage former clubs Liverpool and Bayern Munich – as the Spaniard said he is in the “right place to develop as a coach”.

Alonso has taken Leverkusen to the brink of their first ever Bundesliga title, with the club unbeaten this season and 10 points clear of Bayern with eight games remaining. With Leverkusen also in the semi-finals of the German Cup and through to the quarter-finals of the Europa League, Alonso was seen as the outstanding candidate for a number of top vacancies this summer and is viewed as the best young coach in Europe.

Jurgen Klopp backed the “exceptional” Alonso as his top choice to replace him at Anfield once the German departs at the end of the season, while Bayern also wanted Alonso with Thomas Tuchel set to depart in May. Alonso won major trophies with both clubs, as well as Real Madrid, where he has also been linked once Carlo Ancelotti departs.

But Alonso believes he has “more to do” at Leverkusen next season and announced his intention to stay at the club next season. Liverpool ruled Alonso out of their managerial shortlist last night, seemingly in anticipation of Alonso’s announcement. The Spaniard, 42, said he had taken time over the international break to decide his future and informed Leverkusen of his desire to build on his work next season while continuing to develop as a coach.

“It’s been a season we have had a lot of speculation regarding my future,” Alonso said ahead of Leverkusen resuming their title bid this weekend. “Until now we have had so many games, been pretty busy and focused, and I wanted to reflect during the international break and take a decision.

“Last week I had a very good meeting when I informed of them [Leverkusen’s directors] of my decision to continue being coach of Bayer Leverkusen. For sure all the decisions you need to analyse well. I try to take the right ones, I try to take them in a natural way.

“At the moment this is the right place for me to develop as a coach, I am a young coach. 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. The fans, they have shown great support and they have reasons to believe and dream we will have a great season. I have a great staff to help me work day by day, and so for sure the players. They give me so many reasons to stay. I have so much more to do here.

Xabi Alonso is sticking with Bayer Leverkusen (Tom Weller/AP)

Liverpool boss Klopp said he could “understand” Alonso’s decision.

“I can speak about a young manager being at a club where he’s doing really well,” said Klopp, who remained in charge of Mainz for seven years before moving onto his first major job with Borussia Dortmund.

“I did pretty much the same, and never regretted it. I can understand why he wants to do that.”

Alonso said he had given himself a deadline of the March international break to reach a decision.

“All my cards on the table,” he said. “I have thought about the decision because you need to reflect well. Once I took it I felt I needed to share it with everyone. It is a sign of respect. I informed the players at a team talk this morning. We have prepared in a normal way.

“You guys did a lot of speculation – even since last May! It’s part of the business, and I haven’t been stressed by it. It was important it wasn’t affecting the team and the mentality of the team was good. Everything is clear.”

Source: independent.co.uk