In recent months, the Basque player has been dogged by a pelvic injury which has reduced his usual on-field influence. In February, he had a meeting with coach Jose Mourinho and since then has undergone a recovery process that has allowed him to play only in the key Champions League matches, the odd Spanish League encounter and the Spanish Cup final. This permitted him to feature against Borussia Dortmund in the semi-final of Europe’s top club competition, as well as against Atletico Madrid. But he was a shadow of the splendid Xabi Alonso who was the fulcrum of a side that won the Spanish League with two records; 121 goals and 100 points.
Having failed to shake off the problem, Xabi has chosen to pull out of the Confederations Cup, place himself in the hands of the Real Madrid medical staff and, thinking about his club, look at all the recovery options available. Right now, the debate is between surgery or a more conservative treatment. At 31 (he turns 32 on 25 November), the former Liverpool man has accepted that he has two or three years left at a mid-high level if he looks after his body.
Mourinho’s methods and footballing philosophy have meant that Xabi has always worked well with the coach. The Portuguese’s departure from Madrid had led to speculation linking the midfielder with a move to follow Mou to his next club. However, Alonso does not want to leave the Santiago Bernabeu with a whimper (he was not even able to figure in the final La Liga matches) and has opted to see out his contract and wait for the decision taken by the club.
The player did not like the rumours linking his future with that of Mourinho. Reports from the British press had even suggested that he could be in line for a move to Chelsea, allowing Madrid to receive a transfer fee (if he leaves next June without renewing his deal, he can go for free).
Club president Florentino Perez met with Alonso and his agent, Iñaki Ibañez, a few months ago, telling the pair that Real Madrid is highly satisfied with the player’s performance and that the club was inclined to respect his decision on his future, whatever it was. The possibility of a move to the United States, where the league is physically less demanding, was mooted. But Xabi wants to stay on at Madrid, and his decision is final. He’ll be at the Bernabeu until 2014 at least, and that’s good news.