Rafa Benitez sends warning to Xabi Alonso over Liverpool manager job

  • Alonso is Liverpool's top target to replace Jurgen Klopp this summer
  • Former midfielder played more under Benitez than any other manager
  • Current Celta Vigo boss urged Alonso to be patient

Alonso is wanted by Europe's elite
Alonso is wanted by Europe's elite / Mika Volkmann/GettyImages

Rafa Benitez has urged Xabi Alonso not to rush the next move of his career and only join a top side once he is certain he is ready.

Alonso, who played under Benitez at Liverpool, has taken the world by storm at Bayer Leverkusen and is the top target for both the Reds and Bayern Munich, who are also on the hunt for a new manager to start the 2024/25 season.

Despite the intense interest in his services, Alonso has also been tipped to stick with Leverkusen for at least one more season, and Benitez admitted doing so could be a smart move this early in his coaching career.

"With social media everything is going too fast [in the world] so that people don't analyse and don't see the big picture," Benitez, who led Liverpool from 2004 until 2010, told The Times. "I can understand why [Alonso is being hyped], because he's doing really well with Leverkusen and it's a big name, good professional, good lad, clever... [but] imagine that [Steven] Gerrard could be around and doing well. Then it would be 'Gerrard!'.

Pepe Reina, Rafa Benetiz, Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Jamie Carragher
Benitez has backed Alonso to succeed / Ian Walton/GettyImages

"He has the potential to be a very good manager and if he has good players he will be successful, but then can he do it for five years, ten years? I don't know.

"He can go to any top side now but they will be expecting to win the title. And if you finish second, maybe it's a great season but people will say, 'Oh, he's failed'.

"In the past you could make a mistake somewhere, learn from it and the next year go to another team. Now social media and the press are 'blah blah' - it can affect young coaches."

90min understands that Liverpool are not concerned by Bayern's interest in Alonso and will not rush their process. The plan has always been to find a new sporting director first - a search Liverpool hope to conclude in March - before taking their input on the pursuit of a new manager.