Soccer

Xabi Alonso will need to leave Real Sociedad soon to build his legacy

Xabi Alonso is flourishing as a coach and already earned a reputation for himself at Real Sociedad’s B-team… after rejecting Monchengladbach, it is only a matter of time before the Bayern Munichs and Liverpools of this world come calling

  • Xabi Alonso has built a reputation as a respected coach without taking a top job
  • Spaniard has been learning the ropes while coaching Real Sociedad’s B-team
  • The former midfielder has been linked with jobs all over Europe as a result
  • However, Alonso decided to stay put with Real Sociedad for another year
  • But he may have to fly the nest soon in order to build a longer-lasting legacy 

Building a reputation and earning respect as a coach can be tough, even after years in management, Xabi Alonso has done it inside a couple of years and all without taking a single big job.

The 39-year-old serial trophy-winning former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich player is most people’s tip to become the next big thing in management – he knows picking his first top-flight post will be crucial to living up to the huge expectations. 

Bild reported earlier this week that he had agreed to take over at Borussia Monchengladbach but on Friday he announced he was extending his contract as Real Sociedad’s B-team coach until 2022.  

Xabi Alonso has built a reputation as a respected coach as Real Sociedad’s B-team boss

Alonso did meet with the German club several weeks ago but he has various clubs interested in taking him when he leaves Real Sociedad and after his latest announcement we now know that his departure will not be for another year. 

That list of long-term suitors includes Bayern Munich. They may have their eye on him for the longer term but it’s also true they could be looking for a replacement for Hansi Flick if he leaves for the German national team in the summer.

For now Alonso remains Real Sociedad’s B-team coach. Their reluctance to lose him is understandable. They missed out on his best years as a player when he left to join Liverpool, they don’t want to miss out on his best years as a coach too.

In part it’s their recent success that influenced Alonso’s decision to consider his options.

Real Sociedad boss Imanol Alguacil has impressed, leaving no room for Alonso to be promoted

Becoming first team coach at ‘La Real’ might have been the perfect next step but his path has, in effect, been cut off by the way current coach Imanol Alguacil has thrived as the manager, leading the team to last year’s Spanish Cup final against neighbours Athletic Bilbao (finally due to be played on April 3 after both clubs tried, in vain, to wait until fans could attend the game).

Last year Alguacil got the team into the Europa League and they are on course to qualify again for next season’s competition. 

You wont find anyone at Real Sociedad who does not want Alonso to take over some day but you will also not find too many who think the time should be now; Alguacil is doing so well.

That has encouraged him to look beyond his home club’s Zubieta training ground.

It’s no secret that he very deliberately embarked on a sort of football management Masters degree in his last years as a player. 

Having learned from Rafa Benitez, Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti at Liverpool and Real Madrid, he moved to Germany to play out his last seasons at Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola.

He has played for some of the most tactically astute managers, with Rafa Benitez among them

Alonso was also a part of Real Madrid’s LaLiga winning side under Jose Mourinho (right)

The German club he left four years ago remains a possible next step. But again the timing could be out. 

Flick’s departure would create a vacancy but despite Karl-Heinz Rummenigge always wanting Alonso to take charge one day, it would still be a big call for his first job to the job in Germany, for all that speaks fluent German and left Bayern a legend after joining from Real Madrid.

Borussia Monchengladbach might have been a fascinating new chapter. It’s a well organised club. 

They have a talented sporting director in Max Eberl and while they can count on a history and good support base the pressure to bring quick success would not have been the same as if he were to go to Schalke or Dortmund.

Qualifying for the Champions League and then making it to the knockout rounds might be the ceiling of achievement, and they are a selling club who have been unable to keep hold of Granit Xhaka, Thorgan Hazard, Marc-Andre ter Stegen but that would not necessary be a problem for a young manager out to prove he can overachieve at a club whose resources ought to limit them taking on the giants of European football.

He moved to Germany to play out his last seasons at Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola (left)

If Alonso wants another base camp en-route to the summit of football management then a club like Monchengladbach would have been a good option. 

But the same can be said for Real Sociedad and for now, as he did so many times in his career as a player – he has put his foot on the ball.

Alonso has already left an indelible mark at Real Sociedad. Last season the B-team he coaches missed out on the play-offs but such was the form of so many of his young players that several took a step up to the first team this season.

Real Sociedad started this campaign with 16 players in the first-team squad who had come through the club’s own youth academy. 

Alonso has left his mark at Sociedad but may need to leave soon to build a long-lasting legacy

It was more than any other side in La Liga. That’s the problem with being B-team manager: the better you do the more quickly you lose your players to the first team.

Eventually it will be time for him to go where he can build something that lasts a little longer. It could be to take the number one job at Real Sociedad. 

If that chance does not come then at what point do a Bayern, a Liverpool or a Madrid come calling?

It’s tough to remember a debutant with so many potential short and long-term suitors.




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