Xabi Alonso has taken on his next big challenge as the new manager of Bayer Leverkusen.

Alonso was known for his passing range and vision, and was one of the most complete midfielders in the Premier League in his prime at Liverpool. He finished his career at Bayern and retired in 2017, when a year later he began his coaching career with Real Madrid’s youth teams.

One year later he took the next step and was made manager of Real Sociedad B who played in the third tier of Spanish football, but Alonso helped them gain promotion to the second tier.

The time has now come for another step up, and this time in Germany at Bayer Leverkusen. Alonso took charge of his first game at the weekend, and got off to the best start imaginable with a 4-0 win over Schalke.

Many of the players he played with in his career said Alonso would make a great manager one day, due to his football IQ and leadership. It’s going to be exciting to see how he does at Leverkusen, who have been pushing to get closer to Dortmund and Bayern in recent seasons, although they’ve had a poor start this year. 

Leverkusen face Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday night so that will be a great test for Alonso too, his first game as a manager in the Champions League.

In Bundesliga there is a lot to do as Leverkusen had won just one of their opening 8 games before Alonso joined, but there is a long way to go and the reaction at the weekend from his players was a big one.

One of Alonso’s best attributes as a manager is how good he is at handling his players. He was really good at that as a player and I think sometimes we can forget that people management is such an important part of being a coach, as when it comes to the players crossing that white line you can’t do a lot other than hope you have given them enough to do what you want them to do.

This is one of the things that should and will help Leverkusen move forward. Also when a team has some setbacks like Leverkusen have this season, they need to have someone in front of them that they believe in and leads from the front. #mmlove