Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso has admitted the opportunity to work under Pep Guardiola was pivotal in his decision to leave Real Madrid last summer.
After winning the club’s tenth European title, Alonso stunned Real Madrid supporters when it was learned the midfielder was pushing for a move to Bayern Munich, only a few months after signing a two-year extension in Spain.
In late August, Madrid reached an agreement with Bayern, and the 32-year-old signed a two-year deal with the Bundesliga champions.
Now, during an interview with The Weekly, Alonso has revealed he began thinking about leaving Real Madrid shortly after winning La Decima with the club. The midfielder went on to say playing for Pep Guardiola was a key factor in his decision to ultimately leave the Spanish giants.
“After beating Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final, it seemed as though the time had come to do something different again,” Alonso told The Weekly.
“We had managed to win La Decima, Madrid’s long-awaited tenth European trophy and I thought it was right to try something new with one of the world’s best teams and in one of Europe’s top leagues and I was grateful to Real Madrid for letting me go even though I had a contract that was due to run until 2016.
“There were many good reasons to move to Bayern and Pep Guardiola was definitely one of them.
“I immediately realized how Guardiola’s unique intensity has enabled him to achieve so much in his relatively short career.
“To be able to learn even more about football under his guidance is incredibly motivating and offers a great challenge. He’s a rigorous thinker and worker; he’s very analytical, a great tactician and a methodical innovator.
“Pep understands everything about the game. He doesn’t force his way of thinking on the players; instead, he convinces us about his ideas. If you manage that as a coach, you know that your players will push themselves even further and fight even harder for the team’s shared goals.”
Alonso has seamlessly adapted to German football and Bayern Munich have continued their dominance of the Bundesliga with the midfielder playing a pivotal role in Guardiola’s squad.
“I’ve been lucky in that, at Liverpool and Real Madrid I managed to slot into the team quickly,” the former Spain international added.
“I had the luck, and pleasure, of arriving in Munich on August 29 and being in the starting eleven the following day in the 1-1 draw to Schalke.