Xabi Alonso's move to Bayern Munich fails to impress German media
Bayern Munich's signing of Xabi Alonso from Real Madrid has received criticism from the German media.
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Alonso's move to Bayern was made official on Friday morning and the midfielder could make his first league appearance at Schalke on Saturday, according to Bayern coach Pep Guardiola.
The transfer of the former Spain international, however, has been met with a lukewarm reaction from a number of German newspapers and websites.
A comment piece in Die Welt maintains that things at Bayern have got out of control since the imprisonment of former president Uli Hoeness, while FAZ looks at Alonso's past at his former club Real Sociedad. Other media outlets, meanwhile, claim that Pep Guardiola is playing it safe with the transfer.
For its comment piece, Die Welt used the headline: "Without Hoeness Bayern surrender themselves to Pep Guardiola,"
The paper maintains that it is striking how Bayern "all of a sudden sway over the waves like a dinghy," and fulfill the Catalan coach's every wish. "FC Bayern have surrendered themselves to Pep Guardiola after the forced farewell of their decision maker Uli Hoeness," Die Welt adds.
The paper singles out the ever-growing fleet of Spaniards at the club, with the contingent after the transfers of Pepe Reina, Juan Bernat and Xabi Alonso now up to 10, including players and staff.
"Guardiola has converted the German champion to a small FC Espana. Hoeness did not want an FC Espana. Hoeness had a dream -- the dream of an FC Bayern Germany, with the majority of the Munich team forming the Nationalmannschaft. He did a great job -- only recently the FC Bayern Germany won the World Cup in Brazil."
Spiegel also noted that "at the moment Guardiola has been given free rein" at Bayern. The paper commented that Javi Martinez's anterior cruciate ligament tear in the German Super Cup left Munich "paralysed from shock" and that "Guardiola now commands with emergency law."
FAZ turned the spotlight on Alonso's past at Real Sociedad, where the midfielder began his career before leaving for Liverpool.
"In 2003, the Basques with Alonso finished second, only two points behind Real Madrid," its piece read. "Obviously Alonso has received good training in San Sebastian. It was the beginning of a world career. But apparently the Basques also have a dark side, just when Alonso's star began to rise."
FAZ looked back at Sociedad's alleged links to Eufeminao Fuentes, and cited an old El Pais report linking the doping doctor to Alonso's former club. Fuentes, who was in the centre of a Tour de France doping scandal in the mid-2000s, is a ghost that has been haunting Germany ever since the involvement of former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich, who retired in the wake of the Fuentes scandal.
In a comment piece on sportschau.de, the focus shifted back onto the pitch, where the arrival of Alonso is an "alarming signal" for players coming through the ranks at Bayern.
The comment claimed that Alonso has passed the peak of his career and will "not reinforce the excellent FC Bayern squad," but moreover will only help the club "to maintain the level until the return of Thiago Alcantara -- the younger and more dynamic version of a world-class holding midfielder."
The article also looked at the Medhi Benatia transfer from Roma earlier this week that might "have looked like FC Bayern discovered a rare -- and very expensive -- pearl for the followers of the Bundesliga."
However, with other top European clubs also heavily interested in the former centre-back "Guardiola and FC Bayern showed little fantasy" by signing him. "The excellent ideas the coach has on the pitch are lacking on the transfer market," the website added.
Speaking to Sky Deutschland, former Bayern captain Stefan Effenberg was also highly critical of the transfer.
"That just doesn't make sense," he said. "You sell one to Real [Toni Kroos], and get one from them. You spend 10 million euros on someone who's turning 33 soon. This deal leaves a lot of question marks. But of course, because of his experience he will function from the first second."
Ex-Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld added: "Bayern Munich needed to act. They have bought an experienced player in Xabi Alonso, who will need little time to adjust. He's a good solution for the next year."