SECRET BEHIND ALONSO’S SUCCESS

LIVERPOOL and Bayern Munich managerial target Xabi Alonso has been hailed as the real deal.

That’s the verdict of Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky, who says the German league leaders will not stand in his way of a move.

In-demand Alonso, 42, is on the brink of leading Leverkusen to their first Bundesliga title and that success has attracted both Liverpool and Bayern, who will be without managers this summer.

Jurgen Klopp will wave farewell to the Reds in the summer having announced his decision to step down as boss in January.

While Thomas Tuchel will also leave Bayern at the end of the campaign.

Ex-Spain midfielder Alonso, who played for Liverpool, Bayern and Real Madrid, has a deal at Leverkusen until 2026.

But Hradecky, 34, who has been at the club since 2018, said: “The hype is definitely justified.

“He brings standards, a winning mentality, train how you play and how you go on every action in every training session with intensity.

“That’s where the real secret is. We are pretty clear about what we do.

“Tactically, he’s fantastic. How we think about corners, pressing the game, staying low. He brings football intelligence with him.

“You guys don’t see him on a daily basis but the atmosphere he’s brought in Leverkusen — we didn’t have it before — I think it comes from the way he has experienced football.

“He lives the game as he did when he was a player.

“In Madrid, Liverpool — that’s the level we strive for every day. Xabi brings a mentally-spirit from the top clubs.

“It was here when he came but it’s up here right now. It’s the best Leverkusen team I’ve experienced. It’s hellishly difficult to play us.”

Ex-Spain midfielder Alonso, who played for Liverpool, Bayern and Real Madrid, has a deal at Leverkusen until 2026.

When asked if Alonso should stay put amid the fierce interest, Finland No1 Hradecky added: “That’s our wish and dream.

“Of course, no-one would be angry or argue if he wins the Bundesliga and decides to go another route.

“There’s going to be another open post in the coach’s spot. We see it on a daily basis that he loves to be in Leverkusen.M

“He enjoys Dusseldorf where he lives. From another point of view: How can you make it better than this season?

“There’s a lot to ponder but he’s enough of a gentleman to make the right decision and only he knows what’s best for him.”

Alonso’s Leverkusen are unbeaten after 26 Bundesliga games, winning 22 and drawing four to be a mammoth ten points clear of Harry Kane’s Bayern.

Hradecky added: “We have to keep believing. The closer we get and the fewer fixtures there are, the closer we are to our dream.

“My dream didn’t come true with Finland but I hope it comes true with Leverkusen.

“With or without Harry Kane, that plays no part in our preparation. Or our mental way of approaching games.

“I hope it’s not just a one-time chance. We have built something that’s worth a trophy. I hope it comes.

“Football is cruel sometimes, you don’t want Bayern breathing down your necks but hopefully the platform we have created is enough.

“We’re getting closer. That’s the mission.”

Leverkusen also face David Moyes’ West Ham in the Europa League quarter-finals next month. — Sun.

 

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