Alonso Opts out of Champions League, Extends Contract in Spain’s Third Tier

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Xabi Alonso, the former Real Madrid, Liverpool and Bayern Munich midfielder, was the hot favorite to replace outgoing head coach Marco Rose at Borussia Monchengladbach, currently 10th in the Bundesliga.

Xabi Alonso Real Sociedad
Xabi Alonso is sticking with Real Sociedad, the club where his football career began. (Image: Real Sociedad)

The German tabloid Bild reported at the beginning of the week that Alonso, 39, was on the verge of taking the job, only to hear Alonso change his rhetoric a short while later, claiming Gladbach director Max Eberl is considering other options. The fact that there wasn’t any official reaction from Monchengladbach, Alonso, or his current club, Real Sociedad, where the former midfielder works for the B team in the third tier, only fueled speculation.

Until Friday. It became clear Alonso decided against joining the club in Germany’s top flight as he extended his contract with Real Sociedad for another season, to June 2022.

Gladbach unmanaged

Gladbach continues to be on the lookout for a new manager, after Marco Rose, the man who brought Champions League football back to Borussia Park, announced in February that he decided to join rivals Borussia Dortmund at the end of the current campaign.

Since the 44-year-old manager made his decision official, his soon-to-be former team has gone from bad to worse. Gladbach lost seven consecutive games before they finally beat last-place Schalke 3-0 last weekend. Gladbach currently sits 10th out of 18 in the Bundesliga, 12 points behind the Champions League “zone,” with eight more games matches to play.

With Alonso out of the managerial race, Gladbach is considering Wolfsburg’s Oliver Glasner, Frankfurt’s Adi Hütter and Bremen’s Florian Kohfeldt as the best candidates to replace Rose.

Looking to the future at Real Sociedad

In 2019, Alonso, who is fluent in German, returned to Real Sociedad, the club where he started his professional career as a player. Alonso was appointed manager of the B team after having previously coached the U14s at Real Madrid for a year. Alonso quit football in 2017, following three successful seasons at Bayern, during which he won three titles, one Cup and one German Supercup.

A World Cup (2010) and European Championship (2008 and 2012) winner with Spain, Alonso spent five seasons at Liverpool and another five at Real Madrid during his playing days, having won the UEFA Champions League with both.

This season, he managed to get Real Sociedad B into the promotion playoffs and hopes to get them through to Segunda Division, Spain’s second level of football, once the campaign finishes.

“I’m very happy with the way things are going, I have very good communication with the board. We want to keep improving, to keep helping and supporting the project. We want to get players ready for the first team. I’m very proud of the work we’re doing”, Alonso said on Real Sociedad’s official website.



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