Xabi Alonso staying at Bayer Leverkusen despite Liverpool and Bayern Munich interest

Spanish manager announces that he will remain at Bundesliga champions-elect this summer

Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen are 10 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga. EPA
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Xabi Alonso has confirmed that he will be staying on as manager of Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen this summer despite interest from Bayern Munich and Liverpool.

The Spaniard took over at Leverkusen in October 2022 guiding the German side out of the relegation zone and up to a sixth-place finish in his first campaign as a manager.

His team are on the brink of a historic season this time round in which they are unbeaten in all competitions and are on the brink of winning their first ever Bundesliga title. They currently enjoy a 10-point advantage over second-place Bayern with eight games to go.

Leverkusen are also through to the quarter-finals of the Europa League – when they will take on Premier League side West Ham United – and the German Cup semi-finals – which sees them face Fortuna Dusseldorf.

And his success has caught the attention of Bayern and Liverpool whose current managers, Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp, will both be leaving at the end of the season.

But despite the interest of two clubs where Alonso starred during a glittering playing career, the 42-year-old has decided he is in the “right place” to continue his fledgling managerial one.

“It's been a season we have had a lot of speculation regarding my future,” said Alonso ahead of Leverkusen's home clash with Hoffenheim on Saturday.

“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.

“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.”

Midfielder Alonso played 210 games for Premier League title hopefuls Liverpool from 2004-09 when he won the Uefa Champions League, Uefa Super Cup and FA Cup.

He joined Bayern Munich from Real Madrid in 2014, making 117 appearances while winning the Bundesliga title three times and German Cup once before retiring from playing in 2017.

“I think it wouldn't be correct of me to talk about other clubs when they are in this situation,” added Alonso, who has a contract with the club until 2026.

“For sure there are clubs I have a strong link, I play there. So I respect them. But it's not correct for me to talk about them right now.

“It's more that the conviction I am in the right place at Bayer Leverkusen and I want to keep growing with the club, growing with the players. I am at this stage in my young career. I had to feel the decision was in a natural way and that's why I have taken it.

“We have speculated enough. I want to enjoy wherever I am and I am enjoying it at Leverkusen.”

Former Borussia Dortmund manager Klopp is leaving Liverpool after nine years in what has been a trophy-laden spell in charge of the Merseyside club.

In February, Klopp praised Alonso as the “standout” among a new generation of football coaches. “Xabi is doing an incredible job,” he said at the time. “The football he is playing, the teams he sets up, the transfers he did, it is absolutely exceptional.”

When asked about Alonso's decision to stay where he is in Friday's press conference ahead Liverpool's league game against Brighton at Anfield on Sunday, Klopp said that he understood the call.

“One part I can speak about is a young manager where he is doing well. Being at a club in a similar situation, I did pretty much the same and I never regretted it,” added Klopp. “That's pretty much everything I can say about it.

“He is doing an incredible job there. Leverkusen has a good team and they will probably keep the team together. That's a possibility and not all years it is like that. So I understand that he wants to do that. For the other stuff, I have nothing to say about it. That's it.”

Updated: March 29, 2024, 2:56 PM