“Playing the villain doesn’t suit me” – Sport

“Playing the villain doesn’t suit me” – Sport

Xabi Alonso talks about his transition from world-class player to professional coach, what Florian Wirtz and Lionel Messi have in common – and explains what football really connects with mathematics.


Javier Caceres

It’s a wet, cold, gray January morning, and from a distance the physique and movements don’t suggest otherwise: it really is Xabi Alonso, who is in charge of special training for two wingers and a goalkeeper on the Bayer Leverkusen training ground. Again and again he shows the rooms that they should use. He doesn’t count the hours he spends on the training ground: “A lot,” says Alonso, 41, later sitting in a box at the Leverkusen stadium. His focus right now is solely on work. Which means, among other things, that he cannot learn German as intensively as he would like. Nevertheless, he has made some progress – even if he is skeptical whether he will ever use “der, die, das” correctly. This conversation, of course, takes place in Spanish.

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