'He is going to mark an era' - Leverkusen star reveals quality that makes Liverpool target Xabi Alonso so special

Bayer Leverkusen star Alex Grimaldo has spoken of the qualities that make Xabi Alonso "a very special coach" amid interest from Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

The 42-year-old former midfield playmaker has shot to the top of the wish lists of Liverpool and Bayern, as both clubs seek new managers this summer.

While the man himself has remained coy on his future, the two clubs are reported to have already made their first moves in the race to lure Alonso away from Leverkusen at the end of the season.

The Spaniard has drawn acclaim for his work at Leverkusen, where his unbeaten side lead the Bundesliga by ten points after 24 games of 2023/24.

Jurgen Klopp also recently named Alonso as a standout coach of the new generation in what has been seen as a tacit endorsement of his possible successor.

Speaking to Fabrizio Romano, Leverkusen wing back Alex Grimaldo – who has been one of Alonso's star performers this season — spoke about what makes his manager so impressive.

"For me, he’s a very special coach," Grimaldo said.

"It is clear that I came for him, he treats me very well, he’s helped me adapt very quickly. For me, he’s very special because he knows how to explain each concept, he knows how to treat players, how to demand from them but giving them confidence without taking it away at any time.

"I remember in the game against Stuttgart in the first half the team was very bad. He came at half-time and said something like: ‘I don’t care if we win or lose, we’re going to play the way we know how to play.’

"He demanded some things but he said: ‘I don’t care about the result, what I want is for us to play the way we know how.’ We went out and it was totally different.

Xabi Alonso, Florian Wirtz

Cheftrainer Xabier Alonso Olano Bayer, Florian Wirtz Bayer, Leverkusen, Deutschland, 10.02.2024, 1. Bundesliga, 21. Spieltag, Bayer 04 Leverkusen - FC Bayern München.

"What I want to tell you is he knows how to treat players. It’s clear that he’s been a player recently and he’s been an incredible player.

"He’s also had very good coaches in his career. I think all that makes him the coach he is today. He is going to mark an era in the dugouts."

Alonso's situation amid interest from Liverpool

Alonso is under contract at Leverkusen until 2026, having signed an extension at the BayArena last year, though it has been reported that the club will not stand in his way should he choose to leave for one of the clubs he represented as a player — Liverpool, Real Madrid or Bayer Munich.

One recent report claimed that Leverkusen, who are chasing a first Bundesliga title in their history under Alonso, would demand a higher release fee from a direct rival like Bayern than from Liverpool.

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