Xabi Alonso set for talks over future
ESPN FC Extra Time
Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso says he is delighted to be back playing after five months out injured, and is now thinking about beginning talks to decide where he will play next season.
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Alonso, 31, was a second-half substitute in Madrid’s manic 7-3 La Liga win over Sevilla at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. His current deal with Los Blancos ends in June, and he has been linked persistently in recent months with moves to either Chelsea, Juventus or Real Sociedad next summer -- with Marca claiming recently that a reunion with Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge was most likely.
The former Liverpool player told Canal Plus after Wednesday’s game that he had not wanted to discuss a new deal with Madrid while he had been injured, but now felt it was a good moment for talks to begin.
“Now is the moment to begin to talk to the club about my future,” Alonso said. “While I was not fit I did not feel up to talking. I have good communication with the club.”
Alonso, who had been out of action for 165 days due to a mixture of groin and foot injuries, said he had appreciated the warm reception he received from the Bernabeu crowed when he replaced Asier Illarramendi midway through the second half.
"I am very grateful for the affection and respect from the crowd,” he said. “I value that a lot. On a personal level I am very happy as it has been five months. I have no problems and I hope to slowly get there to be able to help the team.”
The Basque midfielder rejected the idea that Carlo Ancelotti’s side had missed him badly in recent months.
“Ah no,” Alonso said. “The team is taking shape but there obviously are still things to polish. The season is very long. By reinforcing what we do well and correcting what we can do better we hope to go as far as we want to."
Alonso praised an outstanding performance from Gareth Bale, who showed the Bernabeu crowd what he could do with two goals and two assists against a pretty sorry Sevilla defence, but said the former Tottenham man was still adjusting to Spanish football.
“He needs a period of adjustment to La Liga because it is very different to the Premier League,” he said. “We also need time to get used to him and vice-versa. His quality can be seen and when he settles with the team he will improve more.”