Former Liverpool and Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso appointed Bayer Leverkusen head coach

The 40-year-old, who retired from playing in 2017, has previously coached Real Madrid's U14s and spent three years in charge of Real Sociedad's B team in the second and third tiers of Spanish football prior to joining Leverkusen.

By Alex Bowmer Published: 6 October 2022 - 5.05pm
Xabi Alonso while in charge of Real Sociedad's B side

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Xabi Alonso has been appointed Bayer Leverkusen head coach following the sacking of Gerardo Seoane. 

The Swiss took over in the summer of 2021 and guided the club to third in the Bundesliga last season, their highest finish for six years. 

However, the Black and Reds have so far had a disastrous 2022/23, picking up just five points from their first eight games in Germany's top flight and embarrassingly exiting the German Cup to third-tier side SV Elversberg in the first round of the competition. 

Things haven't been much better in the Champions League. A 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid meaning they sit third, just above Diego Simeone's men, with Seoane's last match in charge proving to be the 2-0 defeat to Porto on Tuesday. 

Alonso now has an almighty job on his hands to turn things around in what is uncharted territory for him in charge of a first-team squad. 

Alonso retired from playing in 2017 having amassed more than 800 appearances for club and country and wowed crowds with an astonishing range of passing and an eye for a spectacular strike. 

After completing the UEFA Elite training course alongside old team-mates like Raul and Victor Valdes, the former Real Madrid midfielder took charge of Los Blancos' U14 side in 2018 before quickly moving on to bigger things as he took over Sociedad's second-string side, who were then in Spanish third tier, the Segunda Division B. 

The White and Blues came fifth in his first campaign at the helm before winning the league in 2020/21 and gaining promotion to the Segunda Division.

It was the first time the team had ever been in Spain's second tier, but unfortunately for Alonso, they were unable to stay up, finishing third from bottom, five points from safety. 

Steven Gerrard celebrates his hat-trick against Luton in the 2007/08 FA Cup with Dirk Kuyt and Xabi Alonso
Dirk Kuyt, Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso are just three of many former Liverpool players in management

Alonso is one of a number of ex-Liverpool players currently in the dugout.

John Arne Riise has been charge at Norwegian top-tier women's side Avaldsnes since December last year, while Steven Gerrard notably has the top job at Aston Villa.

Harry Kewell is a first-team coach at Celtic, while Daniel Agger manages Danish outfit HB Koge, Craig Bellamy is assistant to Vincent Kompany at Burnley, Dirk Kuyt is ADO Den Haag manager and Javier Mascherano oversees Argentina's U20 side.