Bayer Leverkusen head coach Xabi Alonso has hailed his side for an "important" victory against Union Berlin on Sunday, after smashing five past Union Berlin.

The Spaniard's side faced a tough test against Union at BayArena, with the visitors knowing a victory would see them reclaim top spot in the Bundesliga ahead of Bayern Munich.

After a goalless first half, Robert Andrich broke the deadlock a minute after the restart to spark a frantic second period, with a brace from Moussa Diaby followed by efforts from Adam Hlozek and Mitchel Bakker.

The win was the joint-highest win for a Bundesliga side against a league leader this millennium, equalling the score achieved by Bayern against Borussia Dortmund in April 2019.

Crucially for the hosts, it also brought an end to a six-match winless streak across all competitions and marked only the third league win for Leverkusen this season, leading Alonso to praise his side's performance.

"The first half was very close, neither side had many chances and it wasn't easy to attack. Union are standing so high in the table for a reason," he said in the post-match press conference.

"In the second half we wanted to stay focused. We had more spaces, our fast players could run deep and were very good at finishing. We are very happy today.

"Today was important. We want to continue in the same way. We always need that mentality to attack and score goals, to stay hungry.

"The 2-0 made the big difference. We defended going forward, the pressure from Jeremie Frimpong was good. That's the mentality we want to have."

Alonso's side now have two Bundesliga matches against Koln and Stuttgart before the World Cup in Qatar, with the league campaign set to resume on January 22.

Xabi Alonso refused to be downbeat after losing his first Champions League game as Bayer Leverkusen head coach, describing Wednesday's 3-0 reverse to Porto as a "lesson".

Alonso led Leverkusen to a 4-0 Bundesliga win over Schalke in his first match in charge on Saturday, but endured a more chastening experience against the Portuguese outfit.

It was a tale of three penalties at the BayArena, as Porto's Mehdi Taremi added to Galeno's opener with two second-half spot-kicks after visiting goalkeeper Diogo Costa denied Karem Demirbay from 12 yards.

Leverkusen have now failed to score any of their last three Champions League penalties, two of which have come against Porto this season (also Patrik Schick on October 4).

Despite the result, the Bundesliga outfit managed 64 per cent possession and 17 attempts in a front-foot display, leaving Alonso to describe the defeat as unjust. 

"We have to analyse the game, come back tomorrow and move on. Today there is pain, but that's football. Today is a lesson for us," he told UEFA.com.

"We could see today that the small mistakes can be fatal in the Champions League. It's hard for me to talk about the result because I think we didn't deserve it."

The former Spain midfielder became the seventh different Leverkusen coach to lose his first Champions League match in charge, but the first to do so by a three-goal margin.

Goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky also thought Leverkusen were hard done by, adding: "It was an unlucky game. It started in a bad way for us and ended in a bad way. 

"Shortly after the break we lost the second goal. Small details were decisive. At this point we have to work hard for success. It's a hard time for our club, but we will work on it."

Leverkusen remain bottom of Group B following their third defeat in four Champions League games this campaign, three points adrift of second-placed Porto.

Xabi Alonso is relishing his "very special" first taste of managing in the Champions League as Bayer Leverkusen aim to ignite their European campaign with victory over Porto.

The 40-year-old replaced Gerardo Seoane as Leverkusen head coach last week and made a winning start to his tenure against Schalke in the Bundesliga at the weekend.

Focus now turns to Wednesday's visit of Porto in UEFA's flagship competition, which Alonso won as a player with Liverpool in 2005 and Real Madrid nine years later.

Leverkusen are third in Group B at the midway stage after last week's 2-0 loss to Porto, who they are level on points with, while Club Brugge lead the way with a perfect record.

Asked about managing in the competition for the first time, Alonso said at Tuesday's pre-match news conference: "It is something very special, for sure. 

"It is one thing to play, but it is something different to coach. Hopefully this will be the first of many games in the Champions League. 

"But it is always special: the lights, the atmosphere, the noise of the stadium. I think it is the most beautiful competition. 

"Every game is big, and you always have to show your highest level when you play these games."

Saturday's 4-0 win over Schalke at BayArena was the highest victory for a coach in their first match in charge of Leverkusen.

That was only the German club's third victory in 13 outings this season and moved them out of the Bundesliga relegation zone.

Leverkusen are now looking to win successive home games in a single Champions League campaign for the first time since October 2014 when Porto visit.

The visitors will be without experienced centre-back and captain Pepe, who Alonso previously played with at Madrid, in what the Leverkusen boss says will be a loss.

"We were team-mates in Madrid and had a great time. He's a great guy, one that you want to have on your side," Alonso said. 

"I wish him a great recovery. Well, from tomorrow! He's a very important player for them, the captain, but he's a leader as well.

"His absence is what it is. You never know if it's good or bad, but we know what Pepe means for Porto. 

"Because of the qualities he has, because of the big personality he has. He's been able to show that hunger and that motivation the way he plays on."

Patrik Schick had a penalty saved in last week's reverse fixture and is without a goal from 12 shots in this season's competition – at least twice as many shots as any team-mate.

However, Alonso has backed the Czech Republic international – Euro 2020's joint-top scorer – to find his scoring touch once again.

"His goals will come, for sure," said Alonso, who previously spent three years managing Real Sociedad B and a period with Madrid's youth sides. 

"He has the quality, the personality and the desire to work on these things. He will help the team and the team will help him."

Xabi Alonso hailed Bayer Leverkusen's "complete performance" after his new side thrashed Schalke 4-0 in his first match as head coach on Saturday.

Former Real Madrid, Liverpool and Bayern Munich midfielder Alonso took the reins at the Bundesliga club on Wednesday, replacing Gerardo Seoane after Leverkusen were beaten 2-0 by Porto the previous day.

Jeremie Frimpong's brace – as well as goals from Moussa Diaby and Paulinho – handed Leverkusen just their second win of the Bundesliga season, ensuring Alonso made a flying start.

Speaking at a post-match news conference, Alonso said: "We're happy. After two days with the team, we didn't have much time, but the players understood what we want and how we want to play.

"It was a complete performance today, both offensively and defensively. I think we can still improve a lot. We talked about some concepts and the players understood them. It's a good start for the road ahead.

"I saw good quality in the team, and I have to help to bring them onto the pitch. We were very focused today, we always have to be. Good concentration and a good mentality are the key.

"As a player you play on the pitch, as a coach you play on the sidelines. You have to be part of the game and try to influence the game." 

Alonso must quickly switch his team's attention to the Champions League, however, with Leverkusen at risk of an early exit after losing two of their first three matches in Group B.

The Bundesliga outfit will host second-placed Porto on Wednesday, and Alonso is acutely aware of the match's importance.

"The game against Porto is very important for us," he added. "We still have every chance of progressing, but we need the three points to avoid being under too much pressure in the last two games."

Pep Guardiola is backing Xabi Alonso to make a success of his big break at Bayer Leverkusen.

Former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich midfielder Alonso was named head coach of the Bundesliga team on Wednesday.

It is the 40-year-old's most prominent role since retiring from playing in 2017, since when he has been building towards a top job, spending three years as coach of Real Sociedad B.

Like Guardiola, Alonso's playing career was spent largely as a deep-sitting central midfielder. Both men played for Spain, with Guardiola earning 47 caps and Alonso representing his country 114 times.

Alonso won a World Cup and two European Championships in Spain's golden era of success from 2008 to 2012, a period which coincided with Guardiola's reign as Barcelona boss.

He later played for Guardiola at Bayern Munich, where Alonso made a great impression on his compatriot and coach.

"He was an exceptional holding midfielder, and when you are an exceptional holding midfielder you have to understand the game," Guardiola said on Friday.

"He reads perfectly, and he's a lovely, lovely person."

Speaking at Manchester City's regular Friday press conference, Guardiola sent best wishes to Alonso, whose Leverkusen side face Schalke in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Leverkusen sit 17th in the 18-team league, winning one of eight games in the competition so far, form that saw Alonso's predecessor Gerardo Seoane sacked.

They have finished in the top six in each of the last five seasons, and 12 of the last 13 campaigns, so the club's standards are high.

Now Alonso steps in, and Guardiola said: "It's an incredible opportunity. He goes to the Bundesliga, a league that he knows quite well.

"It's a really good team in the Bundesliga, prestigious, still playing Champions League, I wish him the best, and hopefully he can do the job."

Leverkusen have failed to win any of their first four home games of a Bundesliga season (D1, L3) for the first time ever. The Schalke game comes at the BayArena, giving Alonso the chance to immediately halt that dismal run.

It happens that Leverkusen have only had more Bundesliga wins against Stuttgart (39) than they have achieved against Schalke (34), with Alonso's new team unbeaten in their past six league clashes with Die Konigsblauen (W4, D2).

Xabi Alonso accepts he is taking a "risk" after being appointed as Bayer Leverkusen head coach, but felt the time was right to make the move into senior management.

The 40-year-old former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich midfielder was announced as Gerardo Seoane's replacement on Wednesday.

Alonso coached Real Sociedad B for three years before departing in May and previously spent time working in Madrid's youth system.

The Leverkusen job presents a new challenge for Alonso, who inherits a side sitting 17th in the Bundesliga and third in their Champions League group after three games.

"There is of course always a risk," Alonso said at his unveiling press conference on Thursday ahead of this weekend's visit of Schalke.

"But you have to always improve and take steps forward. I firmly believe that it will work out here and I am fully motivated.

"Even as a player, I always wanted to take the right steps. I had the chance to coach good teams. But I felt I needed more time. Now I've realised that I'm ready."

Alonso confirmed "there have been inquiries" from teams in Spain but he was eager to return to Germany, where he won three Bundesliga titles in three seasons with Bayern.

"For me, things stay in my head that I feel good about from my time at Bayern," he said. "I already know about the German mentality, so that will help.

"Being here is very important for me. It's a great honour. After five years I must have forgotten some German, but I'll try my best to remember." 

Leverkusen parted company with Seoane on the back of Tuesday's 2-0 loss to Porto, which followed a 4-0 league defeat to Bayern.

They have finished in the top six in each of the past five seasons but are inside the relegation zone with eight games played this term.

"These players have shown great quality in recent years. They should start to enjoy playing again and that way the fans will too," Alonso said.

"I've kept following the Bundesliga and the teams have gotten better. That means I had to feel even more ready. There are a lot of good coaches in this division.

"I'm hoping I can mix up the play. As a former midfielder, I like control. I want to create a winning mentality here."

Xabi Alonso has replaced Gerardo Seoane as Bayer Leverkusen's head coach.

Former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich midfielder Alonso coached Real Sociedad B between June 2019 and May 2022, having previously worked in Los Blancos's youth system.

The 40-year-old has now been handed his first head coach role at the top level on a two-year deal, with Leverkusen opting to part ways with Seaone after a dismal start to the season has left them sitting 17th in the Bundesliga.

"Gerardo Seoane has done a good job for Bayer 04 over the past year and a half, above all by qualifying for the Champions League," said sporting director Simon Rolfes. 

"Unfortunately, we have strayed from the road to success. From our point of view, the early elimination from the DFB-Pokal, but especially the fact that the current position in the Bundesliga is far below our expectations, made the change of coach imperative.

"In Xabi Alonso, we have signed a coach who, as a player, was an absolute world-class professional for many years, an intelligent strategist and extremely successful in three of the most demanding European leagues."

Alonso, who helped Spain win the 2010 World Cup, made 79 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern between 2014 and his 2017 retirement, winning three successive league titles under Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti.

"I know Leverkusen from my time in Germany as an excellent club," Alonso told his new team's official website. 

"Bayer 04 have always had great players, and I see a lot of quality in the current squad too.

"During discussions with the club, it quickly became clear that, despite the current difficult situation, ambitious goals are still being pursued in principle. I am very excited about this task and I am sure that we will live up to this claim."

Seaone's final game in charge was a 2-0 Champions League loss at Porto on Tuesday, Leverkusen's fourth defeat in their last five away games in the competition. 

Xabi Alonso has described Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp as "special", and praised the "treasure" created by the German coach on Merseyside.

Liverpool have made a slow start to the 2022-23 campaign, winning just two of their six Premier League games so far (D3, L1) before suffering a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Napoli in their opening Champions League group stage game last week in Italy.

The former Borussia Dortmund head coach has presided over a period of success at Anfield since arriving in 2015, though, winning the Champions League, Premier League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, EFL Cup and FA Cup.

Alonso – who played for the Reds from 2004 to 2009 – said he always felt Klopp would be a success at Liverpool, stating in an interview with the club's website: "I loved my games against his Dortmund when I was in [Real] Madrid and Bayern [Munich]. You could see that he was special.

"I remember when he signed for Liverpool, straight away I had the feeling that he was the man. We were playing Liverpool-Mainz at Mainz [pre-season friendly in 2006] and in the programme he mentioned that his favourite stadium was Anfield. That was on my mind.

"When he signed for Liverpool, I [thought], 'He's always had that in his mind and he's the right man for the job.' After that, what he's done, it's a treasure what we have in Liverpool, what Jurgen built and the inspiration for the players, for the club, for the fans, for everyone."

After spells with Real Madrid and Bayern, Alonso retired from playing and moved into coaching, starting with a role with Madrid's youth setup, before becoming head coach of the B team at another former club, Real Sociedad.

He stepped down from the role at the end of last season, and is preparing himself for the "next thing".

"I want to visit, to keep learning and to keep being updated about the things that are being done," he said. 

"Use the time, not just to sit on the chair and do nothing. No, no, I want to use this time for myself to prepare better for the next thing. I don't know but I will have to choose what's best for me.

"[Coaching is] demanding but very rewarding as well. It's another role but my role was to help young players at Sociedad's academy. They did really well, we [were] promoted to the second division in Spain – it was a great achievement.

"I have enjoyed it. You play games in another way. It takes longer, the preparation, but you feel really into the game. 

"As Johan Cruyff said, the best thing about football is playing football, and the second one is coaching football."

The former Spain midfielder also spoke about compatriot and former Bayern team-mate Thiago Alcantara, who joined Liverpool in 2020.

Thiago could make only his second start of the season on Tuesday when Liverpool face Ajax in the Champions League, having recovered from a hamstring injury sustained in the opening day draw at Fulham last month.

"You could see that he's a different player," Alonso said. "He's a different talent because he's competitive but at the same time he has those magic Brazilian actions that are not that European.

"He's competitive but he can do different things. He was a great player at Bayern and he continues being consistent and being a great player at Liverpool.

"We talked a lot [in 2020, prior to his move] because he was thinking about the option.

"I said, 'Thiago, you love football, you're in a great club, you're in Bayern and you've achieved great things, but Liverpool is pure football and you're going to enjoy it as much as you have done. If you feel it's the right moment for a new chapter, you won't get better places than Liverpool'."

Xabi Alonso is set to leave Real Sociedad after a three-year spell in charge of the club's B team.

Alonso has built a reputation as a highly rated young coach since returning to his first club.

He took La Real's youngsters – often known as Sanse – to a fifth-placed finish in Segunda B2 in his debut campaign, before surpassing expectations the following year.

Alonso secured Sanse's first ever promotion to the second tier in the 2020-21 season as they finished top of Subgroup 2A and Promotion Group 2C in the reformatted Segunda B.

Their relegation back to the third tier has already been confirmed despite having one match left, but Alonso's spell in charge has largely been considered a success.

According to local reports, La Real wanted Alonso to take charge of the senior team for the upcoming 2022-23 season, such is the regard president Jokin Aperribay holds the former Spain international in.

But incumbent head coach Imanol Alguacil is said to have rejected the offer of a promotion to a directorial position as head of the club's academy in a suggested management reshuffle.

Alonso's departure was announced soon after such rumours began to surface.

"Xabi Alonso will not continue at Real Sociedad once the 21-22 season is over," a statement read. "The coach from Tolosa, coach of Sanse for the last three years, will leave the txuri urdin club having completed a brilliant stage, in which he achieved historic promotion to [the second tier] and enriching, thanks to his knowledge and involvement, the training and progress of the players of our subsidiary, many of them having debuted during this time with the first team.

"Xabi Alonso will not continue at Real Sociedad next year, but the doors of the txuri urdin club will always remain open to be able to join their paths again.

"Real Sociedad wishes to thank Xabi Alonso for the dedication, effort, commitment and involvement shown in the three years in which he has remained at the club in this stage as a coach and wishes him the best for his personal and professional future."

Former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso says both teams should be described as "mentality monsters" ahead of Saturday's Champions League final.

Alonso played for Liverpool between 2004 and 2009, before moving to Madrid where he also spent five seasons, winning the Champions League with both clubs.

The English and Spanish giants meet at the Stade de France at the weekend in a repeat of the 2018 final, which Madrid won 3-1 in Kyiv.

Speaking to BT Sport, Alonso expressed his admiration for Reds boss Jurgen Klopp and his ability to get the most from his team.

"Jurgen, I have played many times against him," he said. "He is intense, he is very passionate and I think that one of his best qualities is that he is able to get the best from his players and he is able for them to commit in a very generous way and create proper teams.

"Each manager, I think they have their own way, their own book. Some managers, they do it on a tactical way, on a very analytical way. There are others that like to create more of that connection, to give that freedom, but you need to know the players.

"You need to be able to give them the right recipe for them to show their best level. That’s the beauty - you don't have just one way, you have many different ways and Carlo [Ancelotti] is different to Jurgen, Jurgen is different to Pep [Guardiola], Pep is different to Thomas Tuchel to Xavi, so they are all different."

Klopp regularly refers to his Liverpool team as "mentality monsters" in relation to their ability to respond to adversity and find a way to win, and Alonso believes this is an accurate assessment, but also feels Ancelotti's men have the same attribute.

"I love when Jurgen says that they are 'mentality monsters' because to do what they are doing, it is not easy," he said. "It's not just this year, it's what they have been doing for the last few years and they have that mentality.

"But, another thing is the final. The final, it is a big one and when you need to show that mentality because Madrid, they are other mentality monsters, so it's a big, big clash that we are going to have. Enjoy it.

"I was in Kyiv a few years ago and it was great to enjoy with two of my teams. It's not all about the final, it's also about reaching the final and enjoying it with the crowd. I was there with friends from Madrid and friends from Liverpool and I am kind of in the middle of both teams, so I will win whatever happens.

"[They are] both great teams, they both deserve [to win] so I will feel for one not to get it.

"We will see. It's the Champions League final so just enjoy it."

Xabi Alonso says Real Madrid's ability to grind out results when not at their best has been key to their success this season, as Los Blancos eye a 35th LaLiga title. 

Alonso, who now coaches Real Sociedad's B team, made 236 appearances during a five-year spell at the Santiago Bernabeu, helping Carlo Ancelotti's team lift the Champions League trophy in 2014.

With Ancelotti back at the helm, Madrid hold a 15-point lead over Barcelona at the top of LaLiga, and the Italian looks set to celebrate his first Spanish title triumph after already winning league titles in Italy, England, France, and Germany.

After beating Sevilla 3-2 with a late Karim Benzema goal last time out, Los Blancos have won 17 points from losing positions this season, the most in LaLiga, and Alonso believes that fighting spirit has been crucial.

"I think the team have found that stability, knowing that maybe they can struggle during one game, but they will have a chance to win and that they can win any game," he told FedEx.

"So far, in difficult moments, they have won games, and they are feeling comfortable playing great football and comfortable playing not the best football.

"Sometimes that's important as well, not to get nervous when you are not playing your best, to deal with those difficult times. I think that Madrid, they have dealt very well with those moments and that's why they are now in a great position.

"[There are] still many points [to play for], but yes, they are favourites [to win the league]. I think that they are the most consistent team. That's what gives you the best chance to win LaLiga at the moment. 

"I think that Carlo is a wise man. He knows how to find and to put the pieces together. That's why he's been with so many clubs, and he's [done] so many great things. He's finding his team, and he's able to deal with them so well because he has those skills to deal with the players."

Madrid have won 23 of their 32 LaLiga games this season, their highest number of victories at this stage of a season since 2016-17, when they won the title after having an identical record at this stage.

Although 39-goal striker Karim Benzema has led the charge for LaLiga and Champions League trophies, Alonso heaped praise on Ancelotti's reliable engine-room trio.

The 40-year-old also highlighted the potential of Barcelona's young midfielders, but stressed that the Blaugrana are in a "different moment" to Madrid as Xavi rebuilds the Catalan giants.

"Year by year, the midfield of Madrid, they are getting older, but they are as good as always. I've seen that Casemiro, Luka [Modric] and Toni [Kroos], they are safe as houses for any manager," he added.

"I think that Carlo has found what he needs from them and for sure he will need to rotate them. [But] they are playing very, very good football, and they are showing composure. 

"As always [with] Barca players, they have different kind of midfielders, [at a] different stage of their careers. For example, Nico, Gavi with the support of [Sergio] Busquets, it's a great prospect, but they are in a different moment right now."

Alonso picked out Madrid and France legend Zinedine Zidane as the one man he would have loved to play alongside..

"For sure, I would have loved to play with Zidane because I remember when I started playing in Sociedad, one of my first memories was playing against one of my idols. That was him," he added.

"To play against him, it was hard, but it was so enjoyable, and he was so elegant, things looked so easy for him, and he was such a good player. I would have loved to play with him, but I played against him."

Is David de Gea's time at Manchester United coming to an end?

De Gea has spent a decade with the Red Devils but his form has been scrutinised in recent years.

A swap involving Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak could solve United's problems.

 

TOP STORY – DE GEA OUT, OBLAK IN?

Manchester United are lining up a swap deal involving star goalkeeper David de Gea and Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak, according to The Sun.

De Gea's future has been uncertain since Dean Henderson signed a long-term contract extension at United, who remain uncertain about the pair.

Spain international De Gea joined United from Atletico in 2011 and the Red Devils are prepared to offer the LaLiga giants a reunion in exchange for star Oblak.

 

ROUND-UP

- TV3 reports Barcelona have offered Lionel Messi a new contract. Messi's current deal is due to expire on June 30 and the superstar captain has been linked with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

Saul Niguez is adamant he wants to leave LaLiga champions Atletico and Juventus lead the race to sign the Spaniard, claims Marca. United – long-term admirers – Bayern Munich and PSG are also interested.

- PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino is the favourite to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid, says the front page of Friday's Mundo Deportivo. Zidane has announced his departure. Former Inter boss Antonio Conte, Castilla coach and club great Raul and Xabi Alonso – currently in charge of Real Sociedad's reserve side – are also on the list. Pochettino has also been linked with a sensational return to Tottenham.

Barca have held talks regarding goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, according to Fabrizio Romano. Donnarumma's Milan contract is due to expire and his departure is already confirmed. After talking with agent Mino Raiola, Barca are set to decide whether to sign Donnarumma, who has also been linked with Juve and United.

- Premier League champions City are looking to smash their transfer record to bring in £100million-rated Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, reports the Daily Mail. City are also interested in Tottenham's Harry Kane – a target for rivals United, Chelsea, Madrid and Barca.

- The Telegraph says United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to sign a new three-year contract in Manchester. Solskjaer guided United to a second-placed finish in the Premier League, while the club were stunned by Villarreal in the Europa League final this season.

Barca are close to completing free transfers for Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and Lyon star Memphis Depay, according to Mundo Deportivo. Ronald Koeman's men are also eyeing City's free agent pair Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia.

- FootMercato reports PSG have made an approach for star Milan full-back Theo Hernandez.

Chelsea and Tottenham both have strong interest in Borussia Monchengladbach attacker Jonas Hofmann, claims Sport1.

Xabi Alonso's immediate future has been decided, with the former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich star signing a new one-year contract with Real Sociedad.

Alonso first took up a coaching role at Madrid, but left Los Blancos to take over La Real's B team in 2019, penning a two-year deal.

In a season curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, Alonso guided the reserve side to a fifth-placed finish in Segunda Division B.

This week, he was the subject of intense speculation linking him with a switch to Bundesliga club Borussia Monchengladbach, whose current head coach Marco Rose will be joining Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season.

Rumours of the move being all but done proved to be premature, however, and though several clubs are said to have been interested in the former midfielder, Alonso has now agreed an extension with La Real until 2022.

"I want to continue to grow in this project and continue the final push for education at [La Real's training ground] Zubieta," Alonso told La Real's official website.

"We have more goals and the intention to challenge ourselves this year."

Reports suggest Gladbach, who exited the Champions League at the hands of Manchester City and sit a disappointing 10th in the Bundesliga, had already moved on from the possibility of drafting in Alonso.

Gladbach snapped a seven-game losing streak by beating Schalke 3-0 last time out. The run of defeats followed on from the club announcing Rose's impending departure on February 15.

Manchester City have been linked with Erling Haaland.

As Sergio Aguero appears headed for an exit, Pep Guardiola wants to bolster his attack.

But Danny Ings has reportedly emerged as an alternative to the expensive and in-demand Haaland.

 

TOP STORY – CITY TARGET INGS

Manchester City are considering a move for Southampton star Danny Ings, according to Sky Sports.

City's all-time leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero is out of contract at the end of the season and no closer to extending his deal in Manchester.

Pep Guardiola's City are reportedly among the admirers of Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland, who has also been linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and Juventus.

With Haaland set to command a huge fee, City are eyeing former Liverpool forward Ings as a cheaper alternative.

 

ROUND-UP

- Gazzetta dello Sport and Corriere dello Sport report Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo is on the brink of being sacked. Juve are out of the Champions League and 10 points off the pace following their shock loss to Benevento. Former boss Massimiliano Allegri has been linked with a return, while La Repubblica claims Atalanta's Gian Piero Gasperini, Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi and Luciano Spalletti are on a three-man shortlist.

- Former Chelsea and Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri is Roma's number one option should they sack head coach Paulo Fonseca, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Fonseca – under pressure in the Italian capital – has also been linked with Napoli, alongside Hellas Verona's Ivan Juric. Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso has been linked with Fiorentina, Torino and Bologna.

Neymar re-signing with Ligue 1 holders PSG is "just a matter of time", according to Fabrizio Romano.

Aaron Ramsey is interested in a move to Premier League champions Liverpool, according to Calciomercato. The Juventus midfielder, who left Arsenal for Turin in 2019, is seen as a possible replacement for rumoured Barca target Georginio Wijnaldum at Anfield.

- The Daily Express reports Arsenal are eyeing Barcelona misfit Philippe Coutinho. However, a move will depend on whether Arsenal sign loanee Martin Odegaard permanently from Madrid.

Xabi Alonso is set to become the new head coach of Borussia Monchengladbach next season, replacing Dortmund-bound Marco Rose. Romano, however, insists no contract has been signed as the former Bayern Munich star remains in charge of Real Sociedad's B team.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.