Xabi Alonso: My Role At Liverpool, Real Madrid & Bayern Munich – Masterclass
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Xabi Alonso: My Role At Liverpool, Real Madrid & Bayern Munich – Masterclass

January 14, 2020

Our style was very quick transitions. Not
that much collaboration whereas we were more attacking with quick actions but we scored
so many goals. The potential we had to score goals. The goals came from nothing almost. With Rafa (Benitez), my years in Liverpool, most of them we used to play in a 4-2-3-1
formation. Of course, I used to play in this position as a left double-six. I had to adapt
depending on who my partner here, I had to change a little bit my style or my role in
the team depending on who used to play alongside myself or as a number 10. Of course, if I
used to play with Steve (Gerrard) here and another player in the hole, I knew I had to
be more positional and he was going to make the offensive runs or try to have the triangle
which will be the other way around. Whereas, when I had to play with Mascherano in the
last years, Javier (Mascherano) was a lot more positional, very competitive, very good
runs but more in the position and not that offensive. I had to play a little bit further
and get closer to normally Stevie (Gerrard) and Torres and try to connect with them. That
was offensively my role, connecting with the wings. I used to play short and long. Not
just looking for the players who were 20 metres. We were always trying to find the space because
we were always quite direct, very intense and that was working pretty well because Stevie’s
(Gerrard) and Torres’ connection was really good. My partnership with Mascherano was good.
Carragher and Agger used to work very well. We used to have very competitive full-backs
with Arbeloa and Fabio (Aurelio). Riera and Dirk (Kuyt) was very intense here. It was a
very balanced team. We could beat anyone. If I was getting close, I would attract this
player so this space, we could play straight into Stevie (Gerrard) and he could get the
ball. He would make the run or action and the last pass to Torres. It’s all about the
space and who is the free man. If I am the free man, he comes to me, I won’t be free
but he will be free. Try to have that reading of the game. It’s important. Where is the
space and who is the free player? That is the game understanding and the game intelligence
of the great players. The better you do, the better you play normally. Most of the years,
especially under Jose (Mourinho) we used to play with two midfielders: myself and Sami
Khedira. And Sami (Khedira) has a lot of energy. He will start from this position but he will
make a lot of runs. Mesut (Ozil) between the lines was perfect player to play there because
he wanted to play here in the hole and that is the toughest position to play where there
is no space, where all the defence try to squeeze but I always tried to look for him
to find an intense pass because with the touch and control he had, with a good control he
was straight into attacking the last line. We had a very good connection. With Cristiano
(Ronaldo), he used to play on the left-wing; Di Maria on the right and Cristiano (Ronaldo)
made everything easy. I used to get the ball, find him and he would do his own individual
action. This was, in Madrid, most of our style was quick transitions. Not that much collaboration
whereas we was more attacking with quick actions. We scored so many goals. The potential we
had to score goals. We could score goals from nothing. With Messi, of course, it wasn’t easy to defend against him. He used to play in this false nine role – it’s been spoken
about so much, this false nine role. Xavi used to come here to get the ball and when
I used to go and press him, this space would then be occupied by Messi to this position
behind me. They used to do two against one against me and Ramos would come to press Messi
where this big space used to be created. When Messi got the ball, he would play for Villa
or Pedro in that position. When we would control this position better, Ramos used to tell me
Messi was coming and I didn’t go to press Xavi where I was staying more with Messi.
They used to have more control but they were not that dangerous. When we control that situation
a bit better, we were closer to competing with them. Most of the time in Bayern, I would
play as a number six. I was on my own with two offensive midfielders. You know that in
that position, you have to connect well with the centre-backs to do our proper build-up
and know what is happening. The number ten is with you, you know that you’re starting
the game and have to create space for the centre-backs to start the build-up. Whereas,
if they were playing two strikers on the two centre-backs you need to help them or even
to drop into the middle. Reading those positions of the game. I learned a lot in three years
at Bayern. I was 32, I had made a lot of my career but in two, three years I learned so,
so much. We try to be an attacking team. A team that has an initiative of the game, that
wants the ball, that the players know how to connect with each other, to have a good
amount of distance. Most of the time we will play a 4-3-3 but sometimes we can play with
three at the back, two midfielders – like a 3-2-2-3 with three strikers because I want
the players to have different stimulus and not just to know what to do in one situation,
in different situations. Whereas, you start the build-up with two centre backs and it
is different. The ones have to commit and have to attack like the centre-backs. Whereas
with two it is completely different so. In the end, they understand quite well and for
me that has been very satisfying. They learned quicker than I thought. I thought it was going
to take longer but once you repeat, once you insist and once you show them that they are
doing well, they start feeling and believing in it and they follow. You will have everything
as a coach.

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  1. I really hope he becomes the Real Madrid manager ASAP. We need you. Zidane is awesome, don't get me wrong, but tactically speaking this guy is an absolute genius.

  2. What a player this man was! I hope he return Liverpool as coach someday! Forever his n°14 red shirt will remembered

  3. Guys like Alonso and Fabregas seeing the managers they’ve played for alone let alone the Football IQ they have makes them a certainty to become successful managers no doubt.

  4. This is so beautiful. I finally have a new favourite channel. Who can i pay to do one with Carlo Ancelotti?

  5. Remember when Liverpool keeper gets the ball, throw to Alonso. Next thing the ball is with Torres at the front of opponent's net.

  6. I think he'll be an excellent coach, so much knowledge of the game, and has worked with Guardiola. that's not just the Liverpool in me 👌

  7. I really hope that he becomes the manager for Real Madrid sometime in the future. I've learned so much about football just watching his movements off the ball… Brilliant player!

  8. Interesting,
    “With the touch he HAD, and the controls he USED to have.”

    Ozil could have been a great

  9. What a player, what a career. Champion everywhere he went! He's not the first player you think of when you think of the "golden years" at Liverpool and Madrid, but there's a reason he was always there. I would love to hear him tell stories of specific games, and go into more detail on tactics.

  10. When Xabi speaks….. its gospel. Not too quick, not powerful, not fast. But the man an insane fútbol IQ. Una Leyenda 👍🏽

  11. Not the fastest or most technically gifted but an all around incredible footballing IQ. And a leader on the field. One of my favorites. The fact that at 31 and after LFC and RM he still learned a lot from Guardiola, says a lot about Guardiola as a coach!!!

  12. we played luton town in the fa cup,xabi and the keeper had a race,xabi had a shot from 70 yards you should of seen the look on gerrards face, a-l-o-n-s-o its alonso xabi xabi alonso 🙂

  13. I wish he could said more about the duration of bayern with pep.. Sure there would be alot more info, but great video for a great player anyway

  14. He's going to be a heck of a coach. And I hope one day he'll lead Real Madrid from the bench, like he did on the pitch. Class act this guy is.

  15. And Unai Emery think Granit Xhaka can be like him..
    What a clown.. For fck sake I can rate Manuel Locatelli or Julian Weigl better than his Captain Clown.. I'm Arsenal supporter anyway..

  16. He won zero PL titles with Liverpool in 5 years (including his last 3 seasons in a row trophyless) why do we want to know their unsuccessful tactics? Even the 2 cups he won there were via shootouts in finals where they were awful at times and needed luck. Just stick to RMadrid lol

  17. how to build up in a bck three with pep,quick actions and fiding space with mourinho,that´s the ultimate plyer.He became a really intelegent player-I am sure one day we will be a great coach

  18. Damn I would have loved to hear him talk about his role in that 13/14 season under Ancelotti playing in midfielder 3 with Di Maria and Modric as the anchor 😕

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