Messi did me a lot of damage at Real Madrid, Xabi Alonso confesses
Dec 14, 2017 Sports 4642 By Collins Kelechi
- Messi did me a lot of damage at Real Madrid, Xabi Alonso confesses.
- Discloses that Mourinho knew how to control games without dominating back at Real Madrid.
- Reveals how Madrid learnt to get even and stop Messi and Barca.
Former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso has disclosed that he suffered a great deal in the hands of
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi during his time at Real Madrid.
Alonso also used the opportunity to explain that former Madrid and current Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho knew how to control games without dominating them.
"There were phases of the game when we were not dominant, but we were in control," Alonso said. "For example, there was a feeling that every corner against us was a chance for us. When we countered...
"With Mesut, who seemed weak but could carry the ball 30 yards brutally, Cristiano ran up the opposite side knowing that he would get the ball at the end of the move, and Karim and 'Fideo' [Di Maria]. Pure power."
Alonso said that Madrid had learned over time how to deal with the threat posed by Barca's Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez with the ball.
"Messi did me a lot of damage, I suffered a lot," Alonso said. "He made us squeeze our heads a lot. We spoke a lot with Mourinho and with Sergio [Ramos]. How was he damaging us? How could we control him?
"Messi was playing, and behind him on the right of midfield was Xavi. And they provoked me. Xavi would show me the ball, I would go, Messi would get in behind me and Sergio would have to come out to cover him, and they cut through us.
"You only began to control Messi when it was me, not Sergio, who was in charge of marking him. Xavi called me, but I stayed with Messi and Sergio did not have to come out, and from there, we controlled him pretty well.
"We sacrificed metres on the pitch, and to be able to win the ball back, to prioritise dealing with Messi. And when we controlled this position, the Barca-Madrid games became even."