Ex-Real Madrid star Xabi Alonso has said that he might have joined Barcelona earlier in his career.
Alonso who was speaking to El Pais, said that the current Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola to him about his intentions to bring him to the Camp Nou in 2008, the deal did not move on and Pep approached Sergio Busquets rather.
“It was the summer that Liverpool wanted to sell me, and there was a conversation between Rafa [Benitez] and Pep [Guardiola],” Alonso said.
“Pep told me about it in Germany. He told Rafa that he liked me a lot and I would fit very well with his way of playing, but Busquets had started in the first team and had tremendous potential. So Pep opted for him, and he was not mistaken. He turned into a great player for them.”
The Bayern Munich midfielder also added that he wasn’t uncomfortable at Madrid but wanted to try something different.
“It was not that I was uncomfortable at Madrid, but I had been there five years and after winning La Decima I wanted to try something else,” he said.
“Of course returning will affect me, it will be very emotional. I don’t know how I will manage it. I still remember when we visited Old Trafford [in 2013]. Cristiano returned to Manchester and he was overcome, stunned. It was a world-class reception. It will be my goodbye to fans who I respect and who always showed me the same respect.”
Alonso said it was very difficult for opposition coaches to work out how to stop Los Blancos, saying it was similar to trying to figure out how to shut down Barca star Lionel Messi.
“There are teams who you can analyse and see how to shut them out, stop them from playing down the wings, or through the centre,” he said.
“With Madrid you cannot think too much about them. They have so much talent, so much skill in all positions, that it is difficult to stop them — they can score against you in any way. It happened to us at Madrid with Messi. We asked ourselves how to stop him, then on the pitch he would dribble past three defenders and show up in the area.
“How do you predict this movement? Madrid have this on the level of their team. [To beat them], besides playing well, you must have a bit of luck and for them to not have a good day.”