Xabi Alonso arrived in Barajas airport yesterday afternoon and told the Spanish media that he was very happy to have left Liverpool to play for Real Madrid in a transfer which cost 30 million euros after a month and a half of tense negotiations between the two clubs and a difficult relationship with Rafa Benítez.
In his first press conference for Real Madrid Alonso said that after a tense year with the Liverpool manager as soon as the British football season finished in May and just before he was due to join the Spanish football team in South Africa he told Benítez he wanted a transfer to another club because he felt that he needed a change and believed that this would be good for him.
However, despite his request Benítez decided not to make it an easy exit and Alonso said that while he tried his best to ensure that his desire to move to Madrid would be respected, he could not be sure that he was going to be allowed to leave Liverpool until the last minute. Yesterday Alonso preferred not be drawn into details about his relationship with Rafa Benitez, saying that they both had a professional relationship – one of player and trainer but nothing more.
He added that he preferred to look to the future now rather than analysing the past.
Alonso was received at his first training session for Real Madrid with an ovation from the fans who see him as the key midfielder the club has been missing in its pre-season friendlies. Alonso joins many of his team mates from the Spanish selection who also play for Madrid: Sergio Ramos, Casillas, Albiol and Arbeloa.
The director of Real Madrid, Miguel Pardeza described Xabi Alonso as is a ‘classic player who brings order to a team’ and added that he ‘dominates to perfection the transition from defence to attack’.