I will stay at Bayer Leverkusen – Xabi Alonso rules out summer move to Liverpool

Xabi Alonso has announced he will remain as manager of Bayer Leverkusen next season, effectively ending Liverpool’s hopes of appointing him as Jurgen Klopp’s successor.

The former midfielder has guided the Bundesliga side to a 10-point lead at the top of the table with eight games to play, in a so-far unbeaten season in all competitions as they also target Europa League and DFB-Pokal glory.

It had been hoped at Anfield that the 42-year-old, who played 210 games for the Reds between 2004 and 2009 and won the Champions League during his first campaign, could be persuaded to take over from Klopp when he steps down in the summer.

However, those plans have been scuppered by Alonso’s decision to stay and build on what looks to be a first-ever title for the BayArena side.

“I’m in the right place here,” he said at his Friday press conference to preview the weekend clash with Hoffenheim. “I’ll stay with Bayer.

“My job is not over here. Putting everything together, I’ve taken this important decision. I am convinced it’s the right one.

“This is my first full season as a manager. I still have a lot of things to prove and to experience. Right now, I have situation where I feel really stable and happy.

“We’re in a situation we have to enjoy. There are still two months to go, it’s going to be really intense and demanding, but enjoyable, hopefully. We’ll go full gas for the big goals we have ahead of us. Let’s see how far we can go, but our wish is clear.”

There is a chance that Leverkusen and Liverpool could meet in what would be Klopp’s final game in charge, the Europa League final in Dublin on May 22, having been kept on opposite sides of the draw for the quarter and semi-finals.

Leverkusen face West Ham in the last eight while Klopp’s side take on Serie A outfit Atalanta.

When asked about Alonso’s decision at his own Friday press conference, Klopp said: “One part I can speak about is that he’s a young manager at a club where he’s doing really well.

“The club are doing an incredible job there. Leverkusen have a good team, probably will keep their team together, I think that’s possible this year as well, it’s not all years like that. So I understand that he wants to do that. And for the other stuff (the links to Liverpool), there’s nothing I have to say about that.”

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp is leaving Liverpool in the summer (Peter Byrne/PA)

Sporting Lisbon boss Ruben Amorim and Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi are the two names most strongly linked with the job.

Alonso had been courted by another of his former clubs, Bayern Munich, who are in search of a manager with Thomas Tuchel due to step down at the end of the season.

Real Madrid, with whom he won two LaLiga titles and the Champions League after leaving Anfield, had also reportedly been interested.

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