Xabi Alonso was close to becoming a member of arguably the greatest club side ever, Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering Barcelona…
But the legendary Spanish boss decided to stick with Sergio Busquets as his deep-lying midfielder instead of buying the then Liverpool ace, who (for some reason still unknown to fans) had been put up for sale by Rafa Benitez.
“Liverpool told me that they wanted to sell me, Benitez too, and Pep (Guardiola) showed an interest in my situation,” Alonso told El Pais, translated by the Echo.
“He wanted to sign me because, as he told Rafa, I was the type of player who would fit his (playing) model. But he had doubts because (Sergio) Busquets had just come through and had the makings of a tremendous player.
“Guardiola chose him, and he wasn’t proved wrong.”
In the end, Alonso signed for Barca’s great rivals Real Madrid and went on to win the title and the Champions League, before eventually joining up with Guardiola at Bayern Munich – winning consecutive Bundesligas together.
Since Alonso departed Liverpool, we’ve won one League Cup, while he’s consistently won the biggest trophies football offers, effectively leaving us in his wake.
The brilliant Spaniard is retiring at the end of the season, but he’s still likely to add another league winner’s medal to his mantlepiece and has an outside chance of another Champions League, providing Bayern can overturn a deficit against Real Madrid in the quarters.