Previous
AS Roma
CSKA Moscow
4
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
Bayern Munich
Manchester City
0
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
Ajax Amsterdam
Paris Saint-Germain
0
1
LIVE 46'
Game Details
Barcelona
Apoel Nicosia
1
0
LIVE 45'
Game Details
Chelsea
Schalke 04
1
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
NK Maribor
Sporting Lisbon
0
0
LIVE 47'
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Shakhtar Donetsk
0
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
FC Porto
BATE Borisov
3
0
LIVE 49'
Game Details
Blackburn Rovers
Derby County
1
2
LIVE 45'
Game Details
Nottingham Forest
Fulham
2
1
LIVE HT
Game Details
Fleetwood Town
Barnsley
0
0
LIVE 45'
Game Details
FC Magna Wr. Neustadt
Rapid Vienna
1
5
FT
Game Details
SV Grodig
SC Rheindorf Altach
3
3
FT
Game Details
Montreal Impact
New York Red Bulls
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Bayamon FC
America
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Municipal
Real Espana
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Huachipato
U. Católica
9:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Universitario de Sucre
César Vallejo
10:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Libertad
Barcelona
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
River Plate
Godoy Cruz de Mendoza
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
San Lorenzo
Defensa y Justicia
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nueva Chicago
Boca Unidos
0
0
LIVE 45'
Game Details
Huracán
Crucero del Norte
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aldosivi
Douglas Haig
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Guarini A. Franco
Ferro Carril Oeste
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Independiente Rivadavia
All Boys
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Patronato
Atlético Tucumán
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sarmiento de Junín
Santamarina
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy
Instituto de Córdoba
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
At. San Luis
Correcaminos
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Irapuato
Altamira
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Oaxaca
Lobos BUAP
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Chiapas
Veracruz
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Queretaro
U.A.N.L
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
U. de G.
Atlas
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Cruzeiro
Atletico Paranaense
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
EC Vitória
Fluminense FC
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Figueirense FC
Criciúma
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sport
Internacional
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Botafogo
Bahia
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Coritiba FBC
São Paulo
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Palmeiras
Flamengo
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Alianza Lima
Inti Gas Deportes
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
12 de Octubre
Nacional
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Seoul
Western Sydney Wanderers
0
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Bay United
Mamelodi Sundowns
Postp
Game Details
Chippa United
Orlando Pirates
Postp
Game Details
Free State Stars
Moroka Swallows
Postp
Game Details
Mpumalanga Black Aces
Ajax Cape Town
Postp
Game Details
Silver Stars
Pretoria Univ
Postp
Game Details
SuperSport United
Bloem Celtic
Postp
Game Details
Alajuelense
Belen
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Patriotas F.C.
La Equidad
8:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Atlético Junior
Llaneros
11:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Boyacá Chicó FC
Once Caldas
12:30 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Deportes Tolima
Independiente Medellín
12:30 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Independiente Santa Fe
Cucuta
12:45 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Next
 Posted by Sid Lowe
Aug 29, 2014

Xabi Alonso to Bayern Munich leaves Real Madrid without their 'professor'

Bayern Munich agree to sign Xabi Alonso from Real Madrid and will complete the transfer in the coming days.

MADRID -- Xabi Alonso's last significant sprint as a Real Madrid player came in a sharp suit, silk tie and shiny shoes. When Sergio Ramos headed his last-minute Champions League final equaliser in Lisbon, Alonso was sitting in the stands, having been suspended for the final, but he clambered over the barrier and raced down the touchline, leaping into the pile of celebrating players. Real Madrid's long wait for the decima had finally come to an end. So, it turns out, had Alonso's time at Real Madrid.

That was the moment, he said Friday morning. Alonso arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu just after 11 a.m., again dressed in a suit and tie. There was time to say goodbye before catching a flight to Munich, where he joins Bayern Munich. He gave thanks to the president, the staff, the fans and his teammates. "We had fun, we struggled, we laughed, we cried, but in the end we won the decima," he said. Madrid had obsessed about it for over a decade and at last they reached the summit.

The thing about the summit, though, is that there is nowhere else to go. "We had fought a lot to get to the final. Three years in a row we had reached the semifinal and we took a big weight off our shoulders in Lisbon," Alonso explained. "It was a great achievement, but then we needed, I needed, to seek out another challenge. You need motivation ... a stimulus. Maybe that ended when we won the decima. To be at my best maybe I need that change, that motivation."

Lisbon reinforced the idea but this was also a move that Alonso had contemplated before. That sense of an era coming to an end, that desire to seek out something different, a new experience, was already there.

His contract at Real Madrid had entered into its final six months before he renewed his deal with the club in January of this year. At that stage he was officially allowed to talk to other clubs, and Bayern were among them then, too. Any agreement would have been for him to go to Germany at the end of his contract, ie now, but it did not eventually materialise and he signed for two more years at the Bernabeu. The renewal, when it came, had not been inevitable. Ultimately, though, it was convenient for both player and club, a logical step.

At boardroom level, there had been no desperation to keep him; the relationship was good and they were willing to allow him to make up his own mind, even if more time had passed than was ideal. From manager Carlo Ancelotti, there was a greater need. Fans, too, wanted him to continue.

Ancelotti talked often of the significance of Alonso, without whom Madrid lacked fluidity and stability. They had signed Asier Illarramendi to be his successor, a move driven by the boardroom more than the training ground, but he did not (yet) convince. The coaching staff admired Alonso for his talent and his intelligence. Ancelotti considered him indispensable. When injury or suspension meant they had to dispense with him, you could see why.

This summer, Toni Kroos made the same journey as Alonso but in the other direction and sooner. Some have suggested that Alonso was departing because he thought his place had been taken and that he would play less. He will be 33 in November. Today he talked about "knowing when to say goodbye" and being "honest with yourself." But he would have still played often under Ancelotti. The biggest games would have begun with him on the pitch. This is not a departure the coach wanted.

Xabi Alonso, who earlier this week retired from international duty, won La Liga, the Champions League and two Copas del Rey in five years at the Bernabeu.

Meanwhile, in Munich, Javi Martinez's injury and those suffered by Thiago made signing Alonso appear attractive once again.

On Sunday, Alonso told Florentino Perez that he wanted to leave. Player and president agreed. This is a move that could have been finalised eight months ago. Instead, it has happened now, and a 10 million-euro fee has been paid. In that sense, renewing Alonso in January and selling him now has been good for Madrid too. For Alonso, he departs as a European Cup winner. He goes out at the very top. By going to Bayern, that desire to find a new challenge has been met.

Motivation comes in the chance, perhaps, to win the European Cup with three different clubs. Clarence Seedorf and, officially, Samuel Eto'o have done so before. (Eto'o was in the squad during the group phase when Madrid won it.) Now Alonso could join them. There is also the opportunity to experience a new country and a different type of football, to complete an enviable portfolio of clubs since leaving Real Sociedad: Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich. Twenty European Cups between them.

The portfolio of managers is more impressive still and that may just have been a factor. For most this would be the end, the last move. For Alonso, it could be just the start, the first move in building a new career. Or the final stage in an apprenticeship. Listen to him talk, watch him play, and it is easy to imagine him as a coach. Intelligent, analytical, clear sighted but adaptable, open to other ideas.

Alonso has still never said publicly that he will become a coach but he came close here and some are convinced that he will take that path. Alonso also comes from a footballing family; his brother Mikel plays professionally and his dad, Periko, played for Barcelona and Real Sociedad. Periko became a coach as well.

The way Alonso bade farewell here, the gratitude and the elegance, left the door open for a return in a different role one day. The "Zidane path" -- coaching Madrid's B team Castilla just as Pep Guardiola coached Barcelona B, as a prelude to an opportunity in the first team -- may appeal should it prove successful for the Frenchman.

- Alonso: Bayern is a new challenge
- German media unimpressed

Alonso made his debut under John Toshack and has played under Rafa Benitez, Manuel Pellegrini, Jose Mourinho and Ancelotti. Now he will play under Guardiola, the player he most identified with as a boy. For all the conflict between Madrid and Barcelona, their philosophies and ideas are similar. Indeed, that was one of the reasons some Barca players felt antipathy toward Alonso: from some Madrid players they didn't expect anything else; from Alonso, they did.

"Football people understand it in much more simple terms [than fans], Alonso insisted here. "What can happen on the pitch are sporting things that are left there." And while the tension was real, it was also a reflection of his adaptability, a professional not so easily pigeonholed. At Liverpool he had admired and followed Benitez's work, studying and learning even when he did not share every idea. From Guardiola, the next lesson will be a positional game. His own ideas will inevitably be a synthesis of all he has seen. And he has seen much: watching, listening, taking it all in. Different lessons from very different men with different skills, different obsessions and different personalities.

"I have been lucky enough to have great coaches, and my dad was a coach too," Alonso said, when he was asked if this could lead to a coaching career. "To play in my position you already need understanding, knowledge and [an ability for] tactical analysis. I've had Carlo, Mourinho and Pellegrini here and I have learnt a lot. You take things from all of your managers, and I am sure that I will take something from this."

"Alonso is an intelligent player who will give us a lot," Guardiola said. Guardiola, in turn, will give Alonso a lot back. He will learn. As befits a man whom Ancelotti called "professor," he will probably teach, too. At Bayern and beyond.

Sid Lowe

Sid Lowe is a Spain-based columnist and journalist who covers La Liga for numerous publications, including the Guardian, ESPN FC, FourFourTwo and World Soccer.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.