Leaving Liverpool Was The Toughest Decision I Have Ever Made In Football - Xabi Alonso

In part 2 of his exclusive interview with Goal.com and the BBC's Ashish Sharma, Xabi Alonso talks about why he left Anfield to join the Florentino Perez project at Real Madrid...
Alonso started by explaining how difficult it was to come to terms with the idea of leaving Anfield.

"When you are proposed one thing against your will it takes some time to accept that situation... that's a reality in football that whenever you are not wanted by a club they propose a move and, at that time, I had to start looking for a move. It didn't happen that summer but I knew that the situation fro my point of view and from the club's point of had changed. The next summer the transfer happened."

When you hear and read those words spoken by Xabi Alonoso, make no mistake that the reason the player left Liverpool Football Club was because of a less-than-thoughtful piece of bungled man management by manager Rafael Benitez in the summer of 2008.

Benitez tried to off load Alonso to Juventus, against his wishes, in order to bring in Gareth Barry. The club that today completely laments and misses the player who was regarded as their best player last season has no one to blame but themselves for their ineptitude in not only selling one of their prize assests, but then totally failing to even recruit Gareth Barry, the player they wanted to replace Alonso with.

As for the Liverpool fans themselves, they should be in no doubt whatsoever about what Alonso thinks of their club and of them.

"Leaving Liverpool was the toughest decision I had to make in football because I was in an exemplary club, a proper football club with a lovely and sharing stadium that meant a lot of things to me. The fans are the best in the world, no doubt about that, and I was comfortable there."

Its clear that the pride and the loyalty that Alonso felt for the club was shattered by the attempts to sell him when he wanted to stay. From that moment on, despite having an unbelievable season the following year, the midfielder felt he had no choice but to leave.

"Yes, but over those things you need to have a perspective and not that after one season you change everything. What I felt was that the  previous season was an irregular one for me. I had a four month foot injury and it took me some time to get back. You need support that sometimes in football you don't have and so I suppose for a collection of different reasons, I made a decision. It was tough but finally I took that decision."

Does that mean that Alonso has an issue with Benitez and how would he feel if the Spaniard one day took over at the Bernabeu, a place he is always being linked with?

"Oh, absolutely not a problem. I have always had a professional and respectful relationship with him. I think that he's done great things in football, at Valencia and at Liverpool. I don't think he will move in the short term. He's building a project and even though results haven't been as good as they thought this season, I think he will stay there."

Alonso continues...

"But it is surprising what is happening there this season. As a friend of many players there, it is sad to see that situation. But they will keep fighting because that is the Liverpool way and hopefully things will soon get better for them there. I don't know why its happened and to be honest, from the outside you don't have a proper opinion about what is really going on and I prefer to keep more distance and not to have an opinion. But of course the pressure is there."

The financial issue is obviously an ongoing concern, but Alonso doesn't see that as being the reason for their failings.

"No, I think their problems are more on a sporting issue than a financial issue."

Alonso also doesn't think that Fernando Torres will leave the club, despite all the hype and the conjecture in the British media.

"Fernando is doing so well at Liverpool. He has progressed so much that he is in the best club he could ever be at and, at the moment, he just needs to keep progressing and to continue being one of the best strikers in the world."

Alonso is also too humble to accept that his decision to leave is why the club is going through such a bad crisis.

"No its not that at all," he laughs. 

"I always say that whenever things are not going as well as you think, then the best player of the team is the one that is not there any more, or he is the one that is suspended or the one that is injured. No, you have to face the reality, and the reality is that the squad at Liverpool is very good but things are just not going as well as suspected. I hope they bounce back and start doing well in the league and the Europa League. But I am disappointed that they are not in the Champions League, because I would love to have played back at Anfield, but maybe another season."

In part 3 of Goal.com's exclusive interview with Xabi Alonso, he talks about his memories of the Merseyside derby and about life at Madrid.