Xabi Alonso delivers blunt response to Paul Merson as he defends Liverpool decision

Xabi Alonso ruled himself out of the running for Liverpool earlier this year
Xabi Alonso ruled himself out of the running for Liverpool earlier this year -Credit:Getty Images

Xabi Alonso has defended his decision not to move on from Bayer Leverkusen this summer. The former Liverpool midfielder has also delivered a blunt response to Paul Merson.

Alonso was heavily linked to both Liverpool and Bayern Munich earlier this year. With both clubs looking for new managers as Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel prepare to depart, a return to one of his former clubs seemed to be a good bet.

The 42-year-old though sprang something of a surprise when he elected to stay put at Bayer Leverkusen, confirming his decision last month. Since then, he has led the club to its first-ever Bundesliga title, and could also add the DFB-Pokal and Europa League to his haul this season.

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His decision though has been questioned in some quarters, with suggestions that he may have missed his chance to move to one of Europe’s elite clubs. Former Arsenal midfielder and Sky Sports pundit Merson was among those to suggest that Alonso may have made a mistake.

Alonso though is firmly sticking by his decision. In an interview with the Spanish outlet AS, the former Liverpool star said: “Everyone is responsible for their own decisions.

"I hope mine to stay is the right one, I am convinced that it will be like that. I am enjoying the moment and, of course, I want to continue improving." Addressing Merson’s comments directly, Alonso added: "Paul Merson will have made decisions that I do not value. Mine is this."

Liverpool.com says: You can certainly understand Alonso’s decision to stay, and you can only really admire his loyalty to Leverkusen. At the same time, you can absolutely understand why people might be questioning him.

It’s hard to see Alonso ever being able to top his achievements of this season while at Leverkusen, and so a move to a bigger club did seem like the natural next step, even though he is yet to complete a full season in Germany. Liverpool and Bayern would certainly have offered him the opportunity to go after a Champions League crown, which might prove to be beyond Leverkusen’s capabilities.

Nevertheless, with Bayern going through a transition period, with some surgery needed on its squad, you wouldn’t rule out Alonso enjoying more success at his current club. If he does, the big clubs will no doubt come calling again, and another of his former sides in Real Madrid might be in the running next time.