Interview with Xabi Alonso

A brief interview with Xabi Alonso, published today by La Rioja newspaper, translated courtesy of Alex, aka AnotherSpanishfan.

You will go down in history as the player that put an end to the myth of Stamford Bridge.

– They had an unbeaten run of 86 games and that gives more merit to our victory, but what really matters is that we’ve won in one of the most difficult stadiums to visit in the Premier and we did so with authority.

It has to be one of the most important goals in your career?

– Clearly it was a high, but I still rank higher the one I scored against Casillas in Anoeta the year we were runner-ups. Also, one I’m very fond of is my first goal in the Premier against Arsenal.

And what about the one that helped win the Champions in 2005 in Istanbul?

– Without a doubt that is the most important one. Although it wasn’t the prettiest one, it will always be the most special goal in my career.

The win against Chelsea means more than just the three points, correct?

– Yes, because they had a mental edge against us in the league, specially at Stamford Bridge. In the Champions we’ve been able to get some decent results there but in the Premier they always beat us. Since I’ve been at Liverpool, this is the first time we’ve scored a goal at their place. Besides, we were leveled on points at the top of the table and they had an unbeaten run of four years. Along with Old Trafford this stadium was a jinx for us and we’ve broken the curse. Now we have Manchester left.

Besides, you won without Torres.

– He’s a very important player for us but we have to be able to cope with injuries and suspensions during the course of the season. We’re doing well and so far we’re not missing him much, although we want him to recover as soon as possible.

In the last few years you’ve lacked something to fight for the Premier, but this year you seem like a serious threat.

– Only time will tell. We’ve started really well but in order to win the Premier you have to stay in form during the whole season. It’s a question mark at this point but it’s evident that we have improved from years past and we’re now more competitive.

This Liverpool team seems more ambitious. Is that so?

– We haven’t changed that much in that sense. Perhaps we are more focused than ever on doing a good job in the Premier first and foremost. Last year we also enjoyed a good start but we went through a bad spell in November that put us out of the race. Here, any team can beat you, but the key is not going on a negative run of results because if you do you’re lost.

Liverpool last won the league in 1990. The supporters must be very anxious to win it again.

– People are very eager[to win the Premier]. We know it is very difficult to win the league but we want to, at least, be on the running until the very end, which would be a nice first step. Winning it is a different matter.

This past summer you added the Euro Cup to a CV with a Champions League, FA Cup, Carling, European Super Cup and Charity Shield’¦ You’re lacking that league title!

– A league title would help to shape up a very complete CV and to win the Premier, which is nowadays the best league in the world, would be incredible.

Let’s get back to the Premier. Who are the team to beat?

– The same three teams, Chelsea, Manchester and Arsenal. Chelsea have the most complete squad and a very solid team. Machester have the best attack in the competition, with incredible players in midfield and forward that can roll over you when they’re in form. Arsenal, with their peculiar philosophy, have the capability of playing fantastic football although, like ourselves, their pending assignment is consistency.

On a personal level, is this the best moment of your career?

– I don’t know if it’s the best but I’m very comfortable on the pitch. I ended the season in good form last term, I was fresh for the Euro Cup and I’ve carried that over to this season. It helps too when the team is playing well in general.

Del Bosque is trusting you with a bigger role for the national team.

– It’s difficult to find a place in the starting eleven because the team is functioning very well and you shouldn’t try to fix what’s working. But, despite not being a fix on the starting eleven, I’m happy with my role for the national team.