‘I have been lucky to have contact with John Toshack, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola’: Xabi Alonso reveals he is still in touch with coaching mentors ahead of managerial debut
- Xabi Alonso will make his managerial debut for Real Sociedad B on Saturday
- The former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder has worked with top coaches
- Alonso says he remains in contact with Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola
- The 37-year-old described Guardiola as a ‘special’ and ‘brilliant’ coach
Xabi Alonso has revealed that he has been learning from the best in the business as he prepares for his managerial debut this weekend.
The former Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid midfielder will take his seat in the dugout for the first time as manager of Real Sociedad B on Saturday, when they face Burgos in Segunda Division B – the Spanish third tier.
Alonso has worked with some of the finest coaches in the game during his 18-year playing career, but he insisted he will be seeking his own path and philosophy on the touchline.
Xabi Alonso has said he has learned from the best ahead of his managerial debut on Saturday
Alonso has worked with Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Vicente del Bosque and Rafa Benitez
‘Of course I have taken a lot from all of them. I’ve been lucky enough to experience great clubs, with great players, great team-mates and great managers,’ Alonso told BBC Sport.
‘I’ve always tried to be close to them, to understand how and why they make decisions. You learn from that but you need to build your own personality – it’s not a copy and paste thing this manager’s job. You need to build your own ideas and believe in them to be able to transmit that idea and that’s what I’m trying to do.
‘Occasionally I call them (his former managers). I try to keep in touch with some of them that I have a good relationship with.
‘That’s the good thing that you have after 18 years playing football, I have been lucky to have contact with John Toshack, with Jose Mourinho, with Pep Guardiola, with Vicente Del Bosque.’
Alonso reserved special praise for Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, with whom he worked at Bayern Munich between 2014 and 2016.
World Cup winner Alonso won the Champions League under Benitez while at Liverpool
Alonso, who will take charge of Real Sociedad B, reserved special praise for Pep Guardiola
The tactician guided City to an unprecedented domestic treble last season after fending off the threat of Liverpool in an enthralling title race.
And 37-year-old Alonso claims it is Guardiola’s mix of ‘passion’ and ‘knowledge’ that sets him apart.
‘Pep is so special. As a manager he understands, reads the football and the micro football, the little things – why things happen and what the team needs to do to control or create danger.
‘His (Manchester City) team has been so stable and able to control all the games, and to do that in the Premier League is really difficult. That’s part of his knowledge of the game and his passion.
‘He’s always trying to encourage the team and to transmit that passion. All that knowledge without heart and without passion is not possible. That mix is what makes him so brilliant.’