Xabi Alonso: I felt unwanted by Rafael Benítez at Liverpool

Real Madrid midfielder says Reds manager Rafael Benítez told him he may be sold to fund new singings

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
xabi alonso
Xabi Alonso joined Real Madrid in 2009 Photo: Real Madrid CF

xabi alonso

Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has lifted the lid on the circumstances surrounding his departure from Liverpool in 2009.

– Steven Gerrard: I’m in my best shape for years
– Liverpool to add ‘two or three’ players this summer

The 29-year-old completed his £30m move to Madrid two seasons ago – an exit which coincided with a drastic decline in Liverpool’s fortunes after the Reds failed to secure Champions League qualification the following season.

The Spain midfielder claims former Reds boss Rafael Benítez had warned him that he may be sold to fund new signings a year before his eventual exit.

“At the end of that season, speaking to Rafa, he told me the situation and that he wanted to sign other players and I could be one of the replacements,” Alonso told Liverpool’s website.

“If an offer would have come, probably I would have been sold. That’s when I told myself that the situation had changed – from being a very important player to being one of those who can be sold to get funds to sign other players.”

Alonso added: “I accepted it because I am a professional but you have to realise what your situation is. At the end nothing happened because there was no agreement and we started my last season in Liverpool, but knowing what had happened.”

“I had to take it from their point of view. We knew what had happened and once we knew I was going to stay, if the manager was going to pick me then I was going to play as well as possible. There were no personal problems, it was a professional relationship.”

Liverpool challenged for the Premier League title in 2008-09 but ended up four points adrift of eventual champions Manchester United.

rafael benitez
Anfield exit: Benítez followed Alonso away from Merseyside a year later

“I didn’t feel I had a point to prove,” Alonso continued. “I knew what I was capable of giving to the team and what I had given for the four years – and then the last one.

“In the last one the team was really good, we were winning so many games, beating the top teams home and away and that made a big difference.

“Because of the silly draws we got at home at the beginning of the season, that’s probably why we didn’t win the Premier League. We felt we had a very good team, we were very competitive and it was a disappointment not to win the league.”

At the end of the season Alonso told Benítez he wanted to leave Anfield if a “good offer” was made.

“I didn’t know what would happen but at the end of the season, knowing what had happened, I felt if another option was to come I needed to take another step in my career,” he said.

“It was very difficult to take that decision, but it was probably for the best for me because I was not comfortable with that situation and if I had stayed another season it would have been uncomfortable for me.

“I was really happy with the team and my team-mates and felt that we could do great things. I was happy on that side but within a club you have to see the big picture and another season would have been too much for me.

“As soon as the season finished I talked to the manager. I knew that maybe Madrid were coming and I said if the terms were good then I wanted to leave.”

Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand: Chelsea FC have made the signing of the summer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Man United could sign 33-year-old midfielder on a free transfer – report
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
‘It might happen’: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer delivers latest Man United transfer update
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Piers Morgan (Photo: Piers Morgan / Twitter)
Piers Morgan reacts to Arsenal’s 2-1 win over West Ham United
Jurgen Klopp
Mark Lawrenson states his prediction for Chelsea FC v Liverpool FC
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Dimitar Berbatov states his prediction for Man United v Crystal Palace
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Ian Wright
Ian Wright admits Mesut Ozil situation at Arsenal is ‘devastating’
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
‘It might happen’: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer delivers latest Man United transfer update
Billie Jean King (Photo: Srdjan Stevanovic / ITF)
ITF announces that women’s tennis world cup to be renamed the Billie Jean King Cup