Xabi Alonso explained how the opportunity to represent both Liverpool and Bayern Munich once again during Saturday’s charity clash at Anfield was something to be cherished.
Having represented the clubs with distinction during his playing career, the popular Spaniard turned out for the ex-Reds in the first half before switching sides during the interval of an entertaining 5-5 draw on Merseyside.
Typically, Alonso made his mark on the contest – albeit for Bayern – with a sublime free-kick beyond David James on 73 minutes, but afterwards detailed how he savoured turning out for each side as funds were raised for the LFC Foundation.
He told Liverpoolfc.com: “It’s always great to be back here, but it was such a special game for me playing the first half with Liverpool and the second half with Bayern. Both clubs are attached to my heart.
“It was a great crowd, a full house, and the atmosphere was fantastic, like it always is here.
“A few months ago, I was back here in the stands – but to be back on the pitch, that’s where I really enjoy it.
“It was great to see some of the guys again; we have played so many times together and in football you change [clubs] and then you don’t see them for years. So to get back together, you enjoy it even more and after one minute it’s like you haven’t been apart.
“To know Bayern is very special. To know Liverpool is special. They both have their own identity, big philosophies, big support from the fans. They are big clubs.”
Alonso was instrumental in seeing Liverpool race 3-0 ahead inside the opening 18 minutes at Anfield, but was also culpable for the goal that capped a stunning comeback for Bayern when his attempted clearance from inside the box found the head of Alexander Zickler as the German club went 4-3 in front.
He joked: “I was confused in that moment! I hadn’t already changed shirts, so I was getting confused!”
Alonso completed the entire 90 minutes and there were no signs of any decline in match fitness or sharpness after hanging up his boots at the end of last season.
With his professional playing days now behind him, the former Reds No.14 revealed how the prospect of entering management is something he’s interested in having begun his coaching badges.
“I probably could have stayed [playing] for one or two more years, but I preferred to [retire] earlier rather than too late,” said Alonso.
“[I wanted] to enjoy it until the last game, playing at the highest level possible, I did it – I wanted that and it was a good place to finish.
“I’m starting now [my coaching badges]. I have an idea, to get ready, but there’s no rush. I’ve lived a lot of things, but to be a coach or manager is another thing. Time will tell.
“I have experience and I have worked with a lot of good managers in the last decade – but to work with and to be [a great manager] is different. You need to build your own personality, your own style, your own character – how do you approach the players? It’s a different story, but we will see.”