‘Illarra ready to replace Xabi Alonso’

Former Real Sociedad boss Philippe Montanier believes Asier Illarramendi is ready to become Xabi Alonso’s heir at Real Madrid.

The young midfielder left La Real earlier this month to join Los Blancos in a deal worth around €40m.

And the French Coach, who is now at Rennes, is confident that his ex-colleague can be a success at Santiago Bernabeu.

“Not only is he a midfielder that works hard to get the ball back, but he has enough quality to be involved in getting things moving and distributing the ball,” Montanier told AS.

“He has many strengths. I would say his liveliness, his ability to cover ground, defend and provide options for his team-mates.

“He also has enough quality to move the ball forward and link-up with other players. His weaknesses include not normally playing 30 or 40 yard passes, and I also feel he’s a player that could score more goals – he has the ability.

“Yes, he’s definitely ready [to replace Alonso]. The difference is that Xabi is great at playing it long.

“Asier is more in the mould of Barcelona’s Xavi, but he is also able to adapt. For Ancelotti he will be a fantastic player because he always listens to the explanations you give him.”

Tags Illarramendi Montanier Xabi Alonso