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May 25, 2011

Alonso: I had to leave Liverpool

Xabi Alonso has revealed he had no choice but to leave Liverpool once Rafael Benitez made it clear he was planning to sign a replacement in midfield and he no longer had the full confidence of the manager.

• Gerrard: We can challenge for title

Alonso left Anfield for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, after Liverpool had finished second in the Premier League within four points of champions Manchester United, and the Spain international has now lifted the lid on the reasons for his departure.

After 12 months of speculation over Liverpool's interest in Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry, Alonso ran out of patience and decided to leave Merseyside.

Benitez never managed to adequately replace Alonso, despite telling the player he would be one of the first out of the door. Alberto Aquilani arrived from Roma in a £20 million deal, but his time at Anfield was dogged by injuries and he was loaned to Juventus shortly after Benitez was sacked 12 months ago.

"At the end of that (2008) season, speaking to Rafa, he told me the situation and that he wanted to sign other players and I could be one of the replacements,'' said Alonso. "If an offer would have come, probably I would have been sold.

"That's when I told myself that the situation had changed - from being a very important player to being one of those who can be sold to get funds to sign other players. I accepted it because I am a professional but you have to realise what your situation is.

"At the end nothing happened because there was no agreement and we started my last season in Liverpool.

"I didn't feel I had a point to prove. I knew what I was capable of giving to the team and what I had given for the four years. In the last one the team was really good. We were very competitive and it was a disappointment not to win the league.

"I was really happy with the team and my team-mates and felt that we could do great things. I was happy on that side but within a club you have to see the big picture and another season would have been too much for me.

"It was very difficult to take that decision (to leave) but it was probably for the best for me because if I had stayed another season it would have been uncomfortable for me.''

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