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DOMINIC KING: Xabi Alonso show of respect is so refreshing

07 Nov 2009 01:00:00

DURING a week when former Liverpool players have not been short of an opinion, the most significant was uttered inside the San Siro on Tuesday evening. 'It's not the Liverpool way to sack a manager after a few bad results early in the season,' said Xabi Alonso after helping Real Madrid secure a 1-1 draw with AC Milan. 'They have full confidence in him and he is the right man for the club. He is a great manager. While it is true Rafa Benitez and Xabi Alonso were not what you would describe as being 'close' during the midfielder's final 12 months at Anfield, it speaks volumes for his attitude and professionalism that he chose to offer words of support at a time of need. Had he so desired, Alonso could have accepted the opportunity to increase the force of the maelstrom currently swirling around Benitez with a series of headline-grabbing, no holds barred quotes. Others, after all, are only too happy to do it. At a times of crisis at football clubs, certain media outlets are not interested in positive, reasoned news and are only content when they are wheeling out names to whip up the storm. It's why that serial under-achiever and former resident of one of Her Majesty's holiday homes, Jermaine Pennant, gets column inches and air space, his banal mutterings are seized upon as a stick with which to beat Benitez. The more ludicrous the statement, the better it is perceived - how else do you explain the erudite Stanley Victor Collymore being given a column in a national newspaper when it seems all he does is the same thing every week: attack Benitez? Alonso, of course, knows how the English media works and had he wanted to intensify the pressure on the man who brought him to Anfield in 2004, he could easily have vented his spleen, safe in the knowledge that it would have been lapped up. Instead, he took the opportunity to thoughtfully and carefully put his views across; Alonso may feel differently inside but what good would it have done? He, after all, has no wish to see a club he still clearly adores be plunged further into turmoil. 'Everyone knows in football, whenever things aren't right, the best player is always the one that isn't there,' Alonso continued, trying to bury the theory that Liverpool are no longer a team since he moved to the Bernabeu Stadium on August 7 for £30m. 'It's a new season, they still have a lot of good players. (Alberto) Aquilani will hopefully be fit soon. Football isn't science. It's not mathematics. It takes time for a new team to gel and to settle down.'


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