Xabi Alonso has landed on his feet at Bayer Leverkusen. The performance of his team and the improvement of the players under him since his arrival along with the rumors that link Ancelotti with the Brazilian national team, make the San Sebastián native coach one of the favorites to fill the potential void in Real Madrid’s bench next season.
It is common knowledge that Real Madrid monitor Xabi Alonso closely, especially when taking into account everything that he has achieved in Germany. Bayer 04 is leading the Bundesliga and is currently undefeated after drawing against Bayern Múnich in Allianz Arena. In a brilliant match against the Bavarian giant, Alonso’s pupils displayed their ability to keep possession of the ball and showed how well the team is constructed.
In the case that Xabi Alonso ended up coaching a team like Real Madrid, many factors should be considered to determine wherther he is the right man for the job or not.
The first one is the personality and the respect of the players, which he would most likely have no problems with, since, as a player, he always had a strong character. His trajectory in world class football would definetely also help earn him the respect of his roster.
The technical aspect would be another factor to take into account. At Bayer, Xabi Alonso usually draws up a 3-4-3 formation that benefits his best players, like Frimpong, Wirtz or Boniface. It would be rare for him to keep that same system in Chamartín.
However, some of Leverkusen’s defining traits, like the strong pressure after turnovers and the speed and verticality in the circulation of the ball, would most likely be integrated into the playstyle of ‘The Whites’. Xabi Alonso would, without a shadow of a doubt, exploit the strengths of Real Madrid’s midfield, which happens to be one of the most physically-gifted in all of Europe.
The main drawback of bringing Xabi Alonso in would perhaps be his inexperience coaching a top tier team, as he has yet to manage a team that competes in the Champions League, which could hurt him when it comes to making tough coaching decisions in matches of such relevance. However, he could make up for that lack of experience with his magnificent ability to read the tactical dimension of a match, a trait he has shown since his playing days.
In spite of his youth and short career, Xabi Alonso would be a solid candidate for Real Madrid’s bench and could make some very interesting adjustments to their playing style. He is clearly ready.
Translated by Nuño Alonso.
Main image: @bayer04fussball.