Xabi Alonso: We like living here
Xabi Alonso is one of those people who have a special kind of aura. The 33-year-old is not only one of the most successful players in world football, but also a big personality. After five successful years with Liverpool and another five with Real Madrid he joined Bayern in the summer of 2014 to face a new challenge. Like last season, the Spaniard is the pivot and anchor man in Bayern's possession-based tactical game. Official club journal Bayern Magazin spoke to Xabi Alonso before the match against Köln, an interview summarised here by fcbayern.de.
Interview: Xabi Alonso
Question: Xabi, what's more fun? A measured and accurate 50-yard pass or tackling your opponent to thwart a scoring chance?
Xabi Alonso: Of course in my position you must have defensive qualities in one-on-ones. But I prefer my team to have the ball. I'm satisfied when my side controls the ball and things are going as we would like them to on the pitch. We work hard in training every day to achieve that.
Some coaches say: As long as we have the ball our opponents can't score...
I think we have more possession than our opponents in at least 90 percent of the matches. When you control the ball you control the game. Most teams drop deep in their own half against us, waiting to launch counter-attacks. You have to be a little patient and wear your opponents out.
Was it right to leave Real and join Bayern?
I think so. So far I've been enjoying it very, very much here. It's a great experience for me and I hope that we'll be even more successful in this campaign.
How do you and your family like living in Munich?
We all feel at home. My kids like living here, and that's very important to me as a dad. I can only enjoy the time if my family are happy -- and that's definitely the case in Munich.
Whose German is better at the moment: yours or your kids'?
Probably my kids are better at it, but I'm trying hard to learn, and it's going quite well. In the dressing room I try to talk to German players in German. But if I notice the words fail me I turn to English.
You've won all the trophies that can be won as a player. What can still motivate you?
I still feel good, I enjoy every minute on the pitch. When that isn't the case any more it'll be time to quit. But at the moment I still feel the challenge to win more trophies. A Champions League title with Bayern would be really special to me. I would have achieved it with three different clubs, and only Clarence Seedorf can boast that as well. I still have targets.
Let's assume you encounter Real Madrid in the Champions League knockout stages. Would it be just another game to you?
No, it would be very special indeed, something emotional. I wore the Real shirt for five years and still have a strong bond to the club and the people there, as is also the case with Liverpool.
Would you say that your career has been perfect so far?
Perfect is a big word. It could hardly have gone better, that's correct. I'm very pleased, I'm grateful for everything I've experienced and achieved. When I started at San Sebastian as a little kid I wouldn't have dared to dream of such a career. It's really not been bad so far, but it isn't over yet. Milan [venue for the 2016 Champions League final] is a beautiful city, and FC Bayern have fond memories of the San Siro. But we're at the very start of this campaign and shouldn't look too far ahead. We always want to win the next match.