We see a lot of great players make the move into management, and we can often see that being an amazing player does not automatically mean you will be amazing manager.
Every so often there is immediate excitement around the new career of a player-turned-manager, and one of the latest tin the spotlight is Xabi Alonso. Most know him from his playing career at Liverpool and Real Madrid, and now as he heads up Bayer Leverkusen currently leading the Bundesliga just after the half-way point in the season.
Leverkusen have a seven-point gap between them and Bayern Munich who chase, but Bayern do have a game in hand to try and close that gap.
Alonso was always in control and when he was in possession he could read the game really well as a player, and his calmness is something that he’s taken into management. But that control slipped for a moment in each of the last two weekends when his team came from behind and scored a 90th-minute winner yet again. He let out his emotions as he celebrated down the touchline, as Leverkusen scored a late winner to take all three points.
After 18 games Leverkusen are still unbeaten with 15 wins and 3 draws, and if Alonso continues who could even match Pep Gaurdiola’s record of 28 games without defeat in the Bundesliga.
Leverkusen are stretched with a few injuries and players away at the African Cup of Nations, but if Alonso can keep the momentum it’s going to be a very interesting battle between his side and a Bayern team that we can usually expect to be relentless in the league. Harry Kane is chasing his first big domestic trophy too so we know he will be doing everything he can to help Bayern leapfrog Leverkusen, especially now with Eric Dier joining, and rumours that Kieron Trippier could join.
Let’s see how far Xabi can take the this season and where his career as a manager will take him.