Xabi Alonso has played alongside Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Cristiano Ronaldo, Arjen Robben and countless other world-class players who’ll go down as legends when they retire.
But he says his former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard easily makes his top three best team-mates – an unbelievable testament to the Englishman when you consider Alonso’s history.
He was part of Spain’s squad, perhaps the greatest international team of all time, that won two Euros with a World Cup sandwiched in between.
The midfielder also won the Champions League with Real Madrid and is key component of Bayern Munich’s perennial Bundesliga champions, but while he’s won more than Gerrard – he doesn’t think he can tie his boots individually.
“Oh for sure, he’s in my top 3,” Alonso told James Pearce of the Echo – who’s exclusive interview on Anfield Extra is fantastic viewing. “He made my game much easier, because I need better players than me around me, to make my game better. Believe me, he was one of them.
“Technically, physically, being able to deliver special moments… He was the most influential player in my career.
“What he meant for the club and how he showed that all over the world – everyone links Gerrard and Liverpool – and it’s just a perfect projection of the club.”
Alonso also reckons Gerrard will one day manage the first-team, after developing his coaching skills with the Academy first.
“Yeah for sure, he needs to be involved in the club. Little by little, gaining experience – but some day he’ll manager Liverpool for sure.”
Wouldn’t it be great for Jurgen Klopp to see out his six-years contract having enjoyed years of sustained success, with Gerrard taking the reigns once he’s ready?