One of the worst decisions Rafa Benitez made while in charge of Liverpool was his attempt to offload Xabi Alonso in 2008 so he could afford Gareth Barry from Aston Villa.
The Spaniard ended up staying at Liverpool that season, but the damage was done – and he pined for a move to Real Madrid in 2009 – where he went on to win multiple titles including La Liga and the Champions League – as well as the World Cup with his country.
Barry ended up at Manchester City and then Everton, but was never even close to the bracket of player Alonso was…
According to the Englishman, a transfer to Anfield was so close he had already started house-hunting.
“We were looking at houses! It was really close but when things don’t happen you have to get over them really quickly and once I know that something isn’t there I can move on and not worry about it,” he said, reported in the Echo.
Alonso’s exit was the beginning of the end for Benitez. Having finished 2nd in 2008/09, we dropped to seventh the following season – and Rafa left after six years at the helm.
In his place, Liverpool appointed Roy Hodgson, arguably the worst manager in the club’s history. The Englishman brought Christian Poulsen in to play midfield – so where Alonso had once been – we had arguably the slowest and less technical player in the top flight anchoring our side!