Alonso confirms Leverkusen stay amid Liverpool, Bayern interest

Xabi Alonso confirms he will be staying at Bayer Leverkusen (2:33)

Xabi Alonso insists his "job is not over" with Bayer Leverkusen. (2:33)

Xabi Alonso has confirmed he will stay on as manager of Bayer Leverkusen for the 2024-25 season despite strong interest from some of Europe's biggest teams, including Bayern Munich and Liverpool, as he sees the club as the best place for him to continue his development as a coach.

Alonso, who has led Leverkusen to the verge of their first Bundesliga title, told a news conference on Friday that he used the international break to consider his options and come to his own decision.

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"It has been a season with a lot of speculation regarding my future," Alonso said. "I wanted to use the international break to reflect a little bit better and to take a decision.

"Last week, I had a good meeting with Simon [Rolfes, the club's sporting director] with Fernando [Carro, CEO], when I informed them of my decision to continue being coach of Bayer Leverkusen.

"For sure all the decisions, you need to analyse well, and I tried to take the right ones, I tried to take the ones that come in a natural way, and at this moment I feel this is the right place for me to be to develop as a coach.

"I am a young coach, but I have to feel it, and right now I feel that this is the right place."

Sources told ESPN on Thursday that Liverpool had ruled out appointing their former midfielder as Jurgen Klopp's successor, while honorary Bayern president Uli Hoeness said Thursday that hiring Alonso this summer is "probably impossible."

Alonso's reputation as a coach has grown quickly since his appointment at the BayArena in October 2022 -- particularly this season, where his team are yet to lose in a German-record 38 games and look likely to end Bayern's 11-year hegemony over the Bundesliga title.

"It's a process, the development of the team is parallel with my development as a manager," he added. "This is my first complete season as a manager. I still have a lot of things to prove myself, to experience, and right now I have a situation in the club where I feel really stable, really happy with the team and the club."

The former Spain international is expected to be a target for Real Madrid when Carlo Ancelotti's contract expires in 2026.

Meanwhile on Friday, Klopp said he understands Alonso's decision to stay, saying he made a similar decision earlier in his managerial career.

"One point I can speak about is a young manager being at a club where he's doing really well, I had a similar situation and did pretty much the same if you want and never regretted it. That's pretty much everything I can say about it," Klopp told a news conference.

"Xabi is doing a really good job there. Leverkusen has a good team, probably will keep the team together, I think that's possible this year as well. Not all years [are] like that. So I understand that he wants to do that. For the other stuff [any disappointment he isn't coming to Liverpool?] there's nothing I have to say."

Leverkusen face Hoffenheim in the league on Saturday as they look to maintain their 10-point lead over Bayern in the standings.

They remain in contention for a treble this season, with a German cup semifinal against Dusseldorf set for April 3 and a two-legged tie against West Ham in the Europa League quarterfinals later that month.

"We are in a situation that we have to enjoy. Still two months to go, it's going to be really intense, really demanding but enjoyable hopefully.

"And we need to give our best, and for that, it was good that last week was my deadline for sure to take that decision. From now on, all the cards are on the table and we go full gas for the big goals that we have ahead of us."

Bayern manager Thomas Tuchel, who is leaving the Bavarian giants at the end of the season, was asked before Alonso's news conference about who he thought could replace him.

"Next question," he said. "I'll certainly not be involved in the discussion about my successor."