The new Bayern Munich signing has retracted some, but not all, of his comments in the media earlier this week.
Xabi Alonso’s interview in Bild sparked controversy on a number of levels, especially his comments which implicitly criticised his former Real Madrid teammates.
When asked about the Ballon d’Or by the German newspaper, the midfielder replied:
“If Manuel [Neuer] won it, it’d be totally deserved… Neuer is the best keeper I’ve played with.”
While nobody will contest that the German stopper is one of the best around, the comments were certainly undiplomatic, considering how long Alonso has spent playing with Iker Casillas, at both club and international level.
These comments were also taken as a slight on Cristiano Ronaldo, who is overwhelming favourite to win this year’s award.
There was speculation that Alonso’s words were tinged by bitterness after he felt he was forced out of the Bernabeu to make room for Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez.
According to Marca, however, Alonso has spoken to Ronaldo and clarified that what he meant was “the winner has to be a German or Cristiano”.
The Bayern Munich midfielder has not yet, publicly, said anything to Casillas. As Marca put it: “Xabi maintains what he said about Iker and has no plans to give him a conciliatory call.”