Xabi Alonso, love and Florentino Pérez | Soccer | Sports


Dates between feelings and results often end in a brawl at the restaurant door before paying the bill. Perhaps that is why, when one makes important decisions, one almost always avoids using love as a tracing sheet or inspiration. If this were not the case, surely the world would seem better to us, but it would function much worse. And it’s true that you have the right to choose to be a romantic. But sooner or later someone with the stench of hyena on their breath will remind you that business is business. Especially in this football. Although there are also anomalies, of course.

Xabi Alonso, for example, is staying at Leverkusen for another year, and it doesn’t seem to be because of money, power or even strategy. Apparently, there is only risk. One more year in the city of aspirin could liquidate that aura that he has conquered. Another season like the one he has just accepted, it would be logical to think, could condemn him to the cold reality of the science that governs football. That is, 13 or 15 points behind Bayern, which is the place that history has always reserved for the Leverkusen club (also known as Neverkusen, due to its stubborn inclination to fail). And it would be normal, because this sport is increasingly a mixture of numbers, tactics and statistics. But Xabi Alonso, he announced last Friday, chose love.

The decision to stay one more year in the team with which he is about to win his first Bundesliga (the club’s and his own), and the strangest thing about it, cannot even be classified as the story of a man in love with his partner. always. Bayer 04 Leverkusen had only been a rival during his years at Bayern, which this weekend was 13 points behind the lead. His personal ties were null. And the club of his life, or one of them, was actually the one that offered him a fabulous contract to start a new era after the glorious time of Jürgen Klopp. Liverpool will have to look for another coach. Also Bayern.

Xabi Alonso has it all. He is smart, handsome, he stands up to the German extreme right with arguments, he is educated, he speaks languages ​​and he is a gifted coach who cut his teeth in an important reserve team like Real Sociedad and chose a quiet and intelligent career without having to go through the dunes of exotic countries to make money. Xabi is today the most admired emerging coach in Europe and the object of desire of any technical office. But he has decided to stay.

This kind of football romanticism is increasingly rare. In Italy, for example, a country where the extreme promiscuity of players allows them to play for two or three rival teams during their career without anyone bothering (Ibrahimovic, Simeone, Ronaldo…), Francesco Totti preferred to stay at Roma. And yes, we already know that Real Madrid offered him a great contract and the possibility, of course, of winning a Ballon d’Or. He himself says it Captain ten seconds after starting any interview and 20 before becoming a new meme. And something similar happened with the same team to Julen Guerrero. But the attachment to a bench is something rarer.

I talked to friends about this matter. Some believe that the technician wants to explore the limits of his creation and test how the device works in a second season. “We have created a winning mentality,” said the coach himself after beating Hoffenheim this weekend. Another maintained that, precisely, that mentality will help him play in the Champions League and continue seeing the banners in the stands with the “Danke, Xabi” this weekend. And that is enough encouragement not to accept Liverpool’s offer. A third friend, the most ashy – and the one who always gets it right – reminded me of something disturbing: there is only one more powerful reason in football than love: a call from Florentino Pérez. Let’s hope feelings triumph.

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