Xabi Alonso Discusses Three Lingering Regrets as Glittering Career Draws to a Close

​Bayern Munich midfielder and Spanish living legend Xabi Alonso will retire as one of the great players of his generation when he hangs up his boots this summer, winner of four league titles in two countries, two Champions Leagues and four domestic cups.

On the international stage, he was the midfield linchpin that saw Spain dominate Europe and the wider world for four years between 2008 and 2012 with back-to-back European Championship wins and a World Cup triumph.

But even for such an accomplished career, Alonso has admitted there are still three other things he came close to doing that he would like to have achieved, if it’s even possible to call them regrets.

“Maybe I have three,” the 35-year-old said in an interview with The Times.

“With Real Sociedad, my club, we were one game from winning La Liga. With Liverpool we were so close to the Premier League. With Bayern, so close to the Champions League.”

La Real in San Sebastian, the team for which his father and brother also played, finished just two points behind Real Madrid’s Galacticos in La Liga in 2002/03. Alonso’s Liverpool side with a firing Fernando Torres then ran Manchester United very close in the 2008/09 Premier League race.

And with Bayern, Alonso was unable to add to his 2005 and 2014 Champions League medals after successive semi-final eliminations in his first two seasons in Germany.

“But maybe that would be too much to ask, too perfect,” he said.

“If you can call them regrets…but that’s just football. When I look back, I can be happy that I’ve done what I wanted, dictated my path.”

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As a technical master, many would hope that Alonso opts for a career in coaching once he’s finished playing, feeding his vast expertise and experience to future generations. He certainly preaches beautiful and intelligent football if his views on tackling are anything to go by.

“Tackling isn’t a quality to aspire to,” he explained.

“I don’t refuse the tackle. I love a good tackle. But it’s the last resort. It’s much better to avoid the tackle. Try to anticipate. How many times does [Sergio] Busquets tackle in his position? He’s so ahead of the game, he doesn’t need to.”

Source: 90min.com