Xabi Alonso has reflected that Real Madrid’s attacking talent is greater than that he has played with anywhere else in his club career.
The midfielder believes that the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil, Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain are unmatched, when compared with his previous sides.
“In attack we have players that surpass those at my other clubs. Every attacking player here can create a goalscoring chance at any time,” explained Alonso to UEFA’s official Champions League magazine.
“We don’t want to keep possession for the sake of keeping possession, and we always have a clear objective, which is reaching the box.
“My performances for the team? I always link that to our collective performance. That’s what interests me: the team. When I see that things could be better, it means I could play better as well.”
Alonso was asked of Jose Mourinho’s work at the club and he again took the opportunity to contradict rumours of player dissent.
“Above all I am struck by his ability to empathise with and reach his players, which is a hard thing to do.
“When you see a group in front of you that support you, believe in the ideas you are transmitting…that’s what a leader does. And our Coach is a leader like that. For me, he is one of the best Coaches.
“Apart from his knowledge of the game, he masters many elements in terms of tactical variations within each match.
“Above all, in the build-up to games, he talks about ‘teaching yourself’, how psychologically you can prepare yourself to be able to play any game.
“That is very important – especially for us where it’s practically an obligation to win every game we compete in.”
The former Liverpool man then spoke about his role on the pitch, as a ball-playing deep-lying midfielder.
“My position is important. A central midfielder is always involved, helping team-mates, linking defence and attack.
“A central midfielder can never shy away, and has to be focused and play at a consistent level over the 90 minutes. You can’t lose concentration.
“A midfielder should touch the ball as little as possible, he should circulate it from one place to the next, from defence to attack and from left to right.
“Tactical intelligence is very important. It’s imperative to know how to approach games tactically because different variations can bring a certain imbalance.
“The fewer of those we suffer, and the more we control a game, the more likely we are to win.”
Alonso and his Madrid colleagues travel out to Manchester United next midweek for the second leg of their Champions League Last 16 clash.
“From the perspective of the supporters and because of the history of both clubs, this tie is pure football.
“The 10th European title shouldn’t turn into an obsession, because that doesn’t work well for you, but it’s an important objective.”