Former Liverpool playmaker Xabi Alonso has revealed that leaving the English side for Real Madrid was one of the most difficult things he’s done in his career.
"At the end of that season, speaking to Rafa [Benitez], he told me the situation and that he wanted to sign other players and I could be one of the replacements," Alonso told the official Liverpool website.
"If an offer would have come, probably I would have been sold.
“That's when I told myself that the situation had changed - from being a very important player to being one of those who can be sold to get funds to sign other players.
“I accepted it because I am a professional but you have to realise what your situation is. At the end nothing happened because there was no agreement and we started my last season in Liverpool, but knowing what had happened.”
Alonso admits that the change in his position at Liverpool was what brought him to the decision to leave the history-rich club.
"I didn't know what would happen but at the end of the season, I felt if another option was to come I needed to take another step in my career,” Alonso said.
“It was very difficult to take that decision, but it was probably for the best for me because I was not comfortable with that situation and if I had stayed another season it would have been uncomfortable for me.
"I was really happy with the team and my teammates and felt that we could do great things.
“I was happy on that side but within a club you have to see the big picture and another season would have been too much for me.
Alonso also revealed that it was he who made the call to move on from Liverpool to Real Madrid, after he was informed of their interest.
"As soon as the season finished I talked to the manager.
“I knew that maybe Madrid were coming and I said if the terms were good then I wanted to leave."