Portuguese Manager Emerges as New Front Runner After Alonso Snubs Liverpool

Portuguese Manager Emerges as New Front Runner After Alonso Snubs Liverpool

Isaac Darko
March 29, 2024 at 3:33 PM
In this article:
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Bayer Leverkusen
  • Xabi Alonso has chosen to extend his coaching tenure at Bayer Leverkusen
  • The Spanish manager was linked with moves to Liverpool or Bayern Munich
  • Liverpool have reportedly turned their attention to Ruben Amorim

Liverpool's hopes of luring Xabi Alonso back to Anfield were dashed on Friday with the Spaniard deciding to stay put at Bayer Leverkusen, who he has on course for a first-ever Bundesliga title.

A Champions League winner during his time as a player at Liverpool, Alonso had been quickly installed as the favourite to succeed Jurgen Klopp after the German made his shock announcement in January that he would leave at the end of the season.

Xabi Alonso announced on Friday that he will remain in charge of Bayer Leverkusen
Xabi Alonso announced on Friday that he will remain in charge of Bayer Leverkusen.Photo: Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV
Source: AFP

Sporting Lisbon coach Ruben Amorim is the new front-runner with the bookmakers ahead of Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi and Germany boss Julian Nagelsmann.

At just 39, the former Portugal international has already made a name for himself in his homeland.

Amorim's first job came at Braga in 2019, where he lasted just over two months and 13 games before Sporting paid his 10 million euro ($11 million) release clause to take over at the Lisbon giants.

That faith in his ability was well-rewarded as he delivered a first league title in 19 years in his first season in charge in 2020/21.

Sporting only managed to finish second and fourth for the past two years but are on course for a league and cup double this season.

Alonso's decision to remain with Leverkusen, who are unbeaten in 38 games in all competitions this season, ends Liverpool's hopes his arrival would soften the blow of Klopp's impending departure.

The Reds' fortunes on and off the field have been transformed during Klopp's eight-and-a-half years in charge.

Liverpool won their first league title for 30 years in 2020, a year after lifting the Champions League.

Klopp is on course to leave in a blaze of glory.

Liverpool are behind Premier League leaders Arsenal only on goal difference with 10 games to go.

They also lifted the League Cup last month and could yet face Alonso's Leverkusen in the Europa League final with both sides into the last eight.

Klopp believes he is passing the baton over at a perfect time with a squad packed full of young talent, aided by a core of world class veterans in Alisson Becker, Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah.

"For the future it is important how good is the team, how good are the players, how good is the structure and how good is the organisation," Klopp said earlier this month.
"That's where my optimism comes from and that's why I think it's a rather good moment to be with LFC."

Sir Alex Ferguson backs Alonso

Sports Brief reported that Sir Alex Ferguson said he was entirely behind Bayer Leverkusen and would love to see Alonso's men win the title ahead of Bayern.

The club has never tasted Bundesliga glory, finishing as runners-up on five occasions without winning the trophy.

Fergie won the Premier League a record 13 times.

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Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)