Steven Gerrard has criticised former Reds boss Rafa Benitez for the decision to sell Xabi Alonso, claiming that the midfielder could have remained a crucial part of our side for many years after, the Liverpool Echo report.
The 33-year-old arrived for just £10.7m in 2004 (via Echo), and formed an outstanding partnership alongside our captain that helped us to the Champions League in 2005, and the FA Cup one year later.
Their partnership was also one of the reasons why after Alonso’s first season, we consistently finished inside the Premier League’s top four.
“It was clear Alonso was royalty after our first training session together in August 2004, and Rafa Benitez, who had been so clever to buy him in the first place, was equally stupid to sell him to Real Madrid five years later. He was, by some distance, the best central midfielder I ever played alongside,” he said.
“It was a disastrous decision to sell Alonso, and especially for just £30million – which looks a snip now when you reflect on all he has achieved subsequently, both at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich and with Spain, winning the Euros and the World Cup.
“I blame Rafa entirely for the loss of Alonso. He could still have been playing for Liverpool six or seven years after he left in 2009,” he added.
And the Spaniard has continued to prove that Benitez was wrong to let him leave for Real Madrid. With Los Blancos, he added another Champions League crown, while also claiming a league title, before adding a Bundesliga medal following his move to Bayern Munich last summer.
Despite now being in the twilight of his career, he has adapted his style and now sits deeper in midfield, which allows him to make the kind of impact he always made at Anfield.
One has to wonder what else we could have achieved had he remained in the side alongside our former skipper for the years when Luis Suarez would have been working off the chances the pair created.