Leverkusen hires Xabi Alonso as coach, fires Gerardo Seoane

Bayer Leverkusen hired former Liverpool and Real Madrid star Xabi Alonso as their coach following the sacking of Gerardo Seoane.

The Bundesliga club said it had “split up” with the Swiss coach, appointing the 40-year-old former Spanish midfielder, who would be given a contract until June 2024.

Alonso enjoyed a stellar career as a player, making 114 appearances for Spain and helping the country win the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championship titles in 2008 and 2012. The former Real Sociedad player won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005 and Real Madrid in 2014. He helped Bayern Munich to three consecutive Bundesliga titles between 2015 and 2017.

This is his first senior management job, having spent the past three years as a reserve team coach at Real Sociedad. He started his coaching career with Real Madrid’s youth line-up.

“With Xabi Alonso, we have attracted a coach who as a player for many years was an absolute world-class professional, an intelligent strategist and very successful in three of the most demanding European competitions,” said Sporting Director Simon Rolfes of Leverkusen.

Seoane led Leverkusen to third place in the Bundesliga last season after coming over from Swiss team Young Boys in 2021.

But this season did not go according to plan.

Seoane’s last game in charge was a 2-0 defeat to Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday, days after his team were knocked out 4-0 to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. Leverkusen is second from bottom in the German league with just five points from the first eight rounds. Seoane’s team was also eliminated in the first round of the German Cup by third division team SV Elversberg.

“Gerardo Seoane has done a good job for Bayer 04 over the past year and a half, especially with the excellent qualification for the Champions League,” said Rolfes. “Unfortunately, we have strayed from the road to success.”

Leverkusen said it would present Alonso at a press conference on Thursday.

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