Xabi's new challenge
It was one of the biggest transfer deals of the summer. Xabi Alonso's big-money move to Real Madrid was a huge disappointment for many Liverpool fans, but he is now seen as a key part of the Real jigsaw as the Bernabeu club bid to conquer Spanish and European football once again. Revista de La Liga caught up with the Spanish midfielder to discuss his hopes and aspirations ahead of the new campaign. He told us about his excitement at the challenge that awaits him in La Liga - and he also gave his thoughts on Real's mega-money signings, Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo. And he also opened up about his decision to leave Liverpool and his relationship with Rafael Benitez - insisting he has known for 12 months that he needed to leave... ALONSO ON MADRID..."It's a massive challenge for me, for the club, for all the players. The expectation is really high, the club has spent massive amounts on new players, bringing new hope to the supporters, and we hope to deliver on that expectation. Madrid have given me a lot of support, they have invested a lot of money to acquire me and that was really important to receive that support from the club. The manager wants an offensive team, he wants me to be a link between defence and attack, he wants me to give the ball to the players around me because the potential is huge." ALONSO ON KAKA..."Kaka's personality on the pitch and off the pitch is similar, he is always happy and trying to make himself available. On the pitch he is technically superb and he always chooses the right option. He is a special player, one of those players who come along every five or 10 years." ALONSO ON RONALDO..."Cristiano Ronaldo is unique in terms of pace, shooting, dribbling. He brings fantastic football to us, as he did at Manchester United, but he's got a big challenge to do as well for Madrid as he did in the Premier League." ALONSO ON LIVERPOOL..."It was a tough call and a very difficult decision for me to leave Liverpool. During my five years I was lucky enough to experience some magical nights at Anfield, to experience the support of the best fans in the world. I will always have them in my mind." ALONSO ON BENITEZ..."There have been a lot of rumours but as I've said before, it was a professional relationship. I have always tried to do what he asked me to do on the pitch. When the birth of my child happened, I had to take a decision to be with my family because it was an important moment. Last summer when the club proposed that I had to be sold to buy new players it was a difficult moment, but I accepted it as a professional. That moment changed my mind, from that moment it was time for a change.
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