Alonso and Valdes set to give up dream jobs playing for Spanish giants
FOR most Spanish footballers, and for millions around the world, to play for either Real Madrid or Barcelona is, to use the old cliche, “a dream come true.”
To play for one of the Spanish giants means not only a massive salary and a luxurious lifestyle, but also the chance to shine in the Champions League. However, in recent years, several Spanish players have actually preferred to go abroad, mostly to England and Germany. The likes of Fernando Torres, David Silva, Santi Cazorla and Jesus Navas have opted for the English Premier League, while youngsters Alvaro Dominguez and Thiago Alcantara have decided in favour of the Bundesliga.
And right now, Real and Barça are both poised to lose one of their senior internationals. Veterans Xabi Alonso and Victor Valdes are keen to leave Real and Barça respectively, to try their luck beyond La Liga.
They have both refused all inducements to extend their contracts, which finish in June 2014. According to Fifa rules, on January 1 – with six months left on their present contracts – they will both be free to negotiate with any club. Even more surprising is the fact that they are not reserves keen to have more playing time, but rather automatic first-choices popular with the fans.
Alonso, 32, seems determined to return to England, where he enjoyed success with Liverpool from 2004 to 2009. He also seems disappointed at the salary offered to him by Real, compared with what Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo are earning. Marca’s headline on Friday was “Please Don’t Go!”, reflecting the desire of the media and the fans.
Marca also claimed that coach Carlo Ancelotti and Alonso’s teammates are “trying tirelessly to persuade him to stay... because they realise how very important he is to the side.”
Alonso has been the fulcrum of the Real midfield for the past four years. Whenever he is injured – as occurred in the first three months of this season – the team lacks authority, clarity, rhythm, character and aggressiveness.
Meanwhile, a group of Barça fans have launched an online petition for Valdes to stay, so aware are they of the importance of the local-born keeper in Barça’s triumphs since he became undisputed first choice in 2003. The petition is ironic given that the introverted Valdes has never been a favourite of the fans to compare with Lionel Messi, Xavi, Carles Puyol or Andres Iniesta.
However, they realise the team will sorely miss the most successful keeper in the club’s history – with three Champions Leagues and six Ligas to his name. Valdes is believed to be sitting on a lucrative offer from AS Monaco. – Sapa-dpa