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Alonso: Give me names who say I'm old
Last Updated: 2016-03-23 19:56 | Xinhua
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Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso has already won Champions League with Liverpool and Real Madrid. In a recent interview with Xinhua, he said he is eying a third trophy and most importantly, he does not feel old.

Following are the questions and answers:

Xinhua: Mr. Alonso we've heard you are busy learning German. Shall we talk in German?

Alonso: (laughing) You must be kidding. I have lessons, right but I'm far from giving interviews in German. So please, let's speak in English.

Xinhua: A few weeks ago you said in an interview that you believe in natural born leaders.

Alonso: ... in English?

Xinhua: Yes

Alonso: Then it was me ...

Xinhua: And do you? And are you a natural born leader?

Alonso: Now you caught me. I'd prefer to have another German lesson rather than answering the question.

Xinhua: Sorry

Alonso: (Laughing) Ok. It might sound like understatement but I normally don't like describing myself. I prefer actions to words. I see my role as an important player for the team, to take responsibility. It's my job. And of course at a certain age, it's a role you take on in the team.

Xinhua: One of Bayern's equipment suppliers recently published a video called "The professor of bossonomics". You were reading about economics and productivity and juggling with a ball at the same time. Is this type of coolness a key attribute on the pitch?

Alonso: It's a bit of everything, coolness, cleverness and the will to read the game to gauge what tempo the game needs. It's important in my position and one of the main jobs in my game.

Xinhua: Some call you "maestro" instead of professor. Is simplicity the thing that makes your game so brilliant?

Alonso: For sure I'm the man for the simple things which is what I do, and it's better for the team. My game is not that spectacular. My game is about giving continuity to the team, to take small steps and decisions to improve the team's game. My job is to make things better for my teammates. That's how I see my job.

Xinhua: As somebody who understands the game, you're just the right person to ask the next question ...

Alonso: ... but not in German ...

Xinhua: ... no much harder ...

Alonso: Uhhhhhh

Xinhua: Put it like this, you say you can understand what's happening in a game. Looking at the style Pep Guardiola prefers, many spectators say it is hard to understand. If you listen to players, they say the opposite that Guardiola's style is easy to understand. Just control ball and game, that's it?

Alonso: To understand what you've just said sounds easy. But I tell you it isn't. He's a coach who's always ahead of his time and he demands a lot, but you have to realize it. But it's the way he thinks that you are more likely to win football games by taking control, so we do. That's what we' ve been doing in the last year. He thinks you get more chances and your opponent fewer.

Xinhua: Did Guardiola redevelop the team and club when it comes to tactics and ...

Alonso: I've been here not long enough to make a general comment on that. It's only my second year but what I can say is that we've developed in many way and this will be useful in the future for the team.

Xinhua: Does the current team mark the peak of Guardiola's era?

Alonso: It's hard to say. What I can say is, we feel we're in a good position at the moment. Of course beating Juve in the last 16 has given us a kick as we know we' ve played against one of the best teams in Europe. Whether it's the peak now, I don't know, it was as tough as we expected, but now we're in a good position. What's happened is useful for the team in the future. We're close to reaching the final of the German Cup, we can win a fourth national title and we feel confident about the Champions League. It's a feeling that we can achieve a lot against the top teams when we fight with the same tools.

Xinhua: Some pundits say that when facing Europe's big three, Bayern will have to stabilize the part of their game when they turn defense into attack. Some say Bayern's style is too risky?

Alonso: I can only tell you, we won't change. The way we play now is the way we've been playing for the last years and it's the way we think is best. Of course at a club like Bayern, there are always discussions about what is the best way. You have to deal with the critics but we are convinced we' re doing the right thing. You could say we have an idea we are fond of. If we win or lose doing it then it doesn't matter. We are sure we're doing the right thing, it's our pattern.

Xinhua: You said Pep Guardiola has left a legacy for Bayern's future. But how are you handling his departure this summer?

Alonso: At the moment, we're not thinking about what comes after summer. We're still in the middle of everything and close to several titles. We're focused on the here and now. After that there will be enough time to think about what comes next. We're concentrating on giving him a great farewell, which he deserves.

Xinhua: Carlo Ancelotti will follow. Looking at his game style it's obvious that he prefers a more attacking, meaning not so much control of the game. Will Bayern have to change next year?

Alonso: Well that's next year. And Carlo is smart enough not to have only one style. He has many styles. He is smart enough to adapt. He's been coaching in Italy, in Spain, in England. Coming to Germany won't be a problem for him. Important is to have the players you need in your squad.

Xinhua: What do you know about Carlo Ancelotti as a coach and as a private person?

Alonso: His CV speaks for itself, he's coached at several top clubs, had success everywhere and got on well with his players. But as I said, there are many big things ahead.

Xinhua: Ok, then let's talk about the big things. After a game like the one against Juventus, can anything shock you anymore at Bayern?

Alonso: My experience tells me, to win the Champions League you need one lucky day, and we've had the day. So we'll see if we manage to make the final. But if you don't have a lucky day at all, you won't make it. And I' m talking about every team worldwide. Like Juve, they haven't been lucky and are out, we were lucky and are still in.

Xinhua: Meaning, you have had your lucky day as Bayern Munich and better be fully concentrated next time?

Alonso: I doubt that we'll get a second chance, so we'd better score goals well before the dying minutes next time.

Xinhua : Talking about luck and a risky game plan, you are the man to fix any difficulties that occur?

Alonso: Well yes, I'm in the thick of things, I play in front of the defense and behind the attackers. I am that link between defense and attack. Protecting the defense or to helping feed the strikers. So it's important for me we control the game. And by the way, as far as Bayern Munich is concerned, I don't know anything else.

Xinhua: Now we are, let's say, rather blunt than diplomatic. Some say you are too old at 34 and too slow for the job, but ...

Alonso: Give me the names, numbers and addresses of these people (laughing) ...

Xinhua: ... we're very sorry lost them all ... but seriously, how important is it for your job to have experience and what some would call the "eye age gives you"?

Alonso: Age of course plays a role but I wasn't quick when I was 20 and I am not quick now, so nothing has changed. As for age, it is more like this: Some look old at 28 and some look young at 36. In football, performance counts, age can't be an excuse. You have to know how you feel. So far I feel good and as long as I feel good, I keep on playing top level football. If I didn't feel that good, I wouldn't be here.

Xinhua: You extended your contract until 2017. What are your goals, maybe to win the Champions League for a third time?

Alonso: When you play for a team and a club, there are no goals you have for yourself. We together have goals. It would be great to win the Bundesliga, it would be the fourth consecutive time for Bayern, there is the German cup and no doubt winning the Champions League would be unmatchable. We're close but there are many more games to be played.

Xinhua: Then tell us which clubs could do?

Alonso: (Laughing) ... The usual candidates ...

Xinhua: Real ...

Alonso: We all know them, Real, Barcelona, Paris, but at the moment, Benfica Lisbon is the one that counts for us.

Xinhua: We know you've had your lucky day already ...

Alonso: ... don't forget that ...

Xinhua: Last season Barcelona was too strong for Bayern in the semifinal. Has Barcelona still on up in Bayern?

Alonso: No doubt they play very well as they did last year. When we have all the injured players available again then it will be a difference to last year. Last year, the last two months were terrible for us and we could not compete at the same level. If we have everyone fit and the coach has all options to choose from it might be different.

Xinhua: What about your former club Real, they seem to be struggling in the league at the moment?

Alonso: Winning the Champions League would change everything, it is a massive goal for them. Real Madrid can beat any team in the world in two games. No doubt they are one of the big favorites in the Champions League.

Xinhua: Before any other final takes place the El Clasico has to be played. Anyone you're crossing your fingers for?

Alonso: It's always a very special game no matter who is ahead in the league by 10 points. It will be great if Real can beat Barca, great for their self-confidence and great for the club.

Xinhua: Do you have any special El Clasico memories?

Alonso: Winning at Camp Nou was always something special, once, when we won the league with 101 points we beat Barca 2-1 and Pep Guardiola was on the other side, that was a good one to remember.

Xinhua: Talking about your age, are you as an experienced player a kind of teacher for younger ones like Joshua Kimmich?

Alonso: I don't see myself as a teacher, telling somebody to do this or that. I am not the type. But I have a good memory. I remember that you still owe me the list.

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