Xabi Alonso has said the delay over his Real Madrid contract extension was not to allow him to consider options elsewhere but because he wanted to prove his fitness.
Alonso’s previous deal at Madrid had due to expire in the summer, and in recent months he had been rumoured to be considering offers from a host of Europe’s top clubs including Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool.
However, the 32-year-old midfielder committed his future to Madrid on Wednesday with a two-year extension and insisted he had never seriously considered playing for other clubs.
“There were no offers,” Alonso told a news conference on Friday. “It was a question of timing. I decided to stay and I do not know anything about other options. Maybe my agent would know. I have always known that Real Madrid is the best place for me to be. My wife and I are very happy in Madrid. We were totally convinced about staying here.”
Rumours that former Madrid boss Jose Mourinho had asked Alonso to rejoin him at Chelsea were also wide of the mark, Alonso said.
“[Mourinho] said nothing to me,” he said. “We have a good relationship, but he never said anything about going to Chelsea.”
Madrid had been eager for him to renew earlier, but Alonso said he had delayed talks until he was convinced he had recovered sufficiently from the groin issues that so affected his 2012-13 season.
“It has been a process,” Alonso said. “There was always communication with the club. After the operation [last summer] I wanted to see how I felt, what level I could play at.
“This was a very important decision. I did not want to take it before I knew that I was fine, although the club were always easy with me. Once I was convinced, it was all very simple. I am very happy, and the club says so too.”
Nevertheless the situation had been an increasing concern for Blancos coach Carlo Ancelotti, who had regularly encouraged the club and the player to agree terms, while the fans at the Bernabeu had cheered the Basque player and chanted “Alonso stay” during recent games.
“That the Bernabeu shows you affection is a very important factor,” Alonso said. “They have always respected me. It is very important to stay in a place where you are liked. The teammates were joking about it. I spoke a lot with [Alvaro] Arbeloa and all the others also encouraged me to stay. We hope these years can be successful.”