ALONSO | Guardiola wanted to sign me at Barcelona

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Former Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso says he almost joined Barcelona before he made the move to the Spanish capital.

Alonso, 35, left Premier League side Liverpool for Madrid in 2009, going on to win La Liga, the Champions League, Copa del Rey and Supercopa de Espana before linking up with Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich five years later.

“It happened not long before I left for Real Madrid,” Alonso told El Pais. “Liverpool told me that they wanted to sell me, [manager at that time, Rafael] Benitez too, and Pep showed an interest in my situation.

“He wanted to sign me because, as he told Rafa, I was the type of player who would fit his [playing] model. But he had doubts because Busquets had just come through and had the makings of a tremendous player.

“Guardiola chose him, and he wasn’t proved wrong.”

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