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Jamie Carragher left “disappointed” as Xabi Alonso picks dream five-a-side team


Liverpool hero Xabi Alonso has named his ultimate five-a-side team – and one of his selections left former Anfield teammate Jamie Carragher “a bit disappointed”.

Alonso enjoyed a stunning career marshalling midfields at the pinnacle of the European game with Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich before retiring in 2017.

The Real Sociedad academy graduate also amassed 114 caps for Spain, winning the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

Alonso chose a mixture of his former club and international teammates as well as two of his childhood idols as he picked his dream team.

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First up, he handed Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer the gloves.

Many, including Alonso, consider Neuer to be the best goalkeeper in the world
Many, including Alonso, consider Neuer to be the best goalkeeper in the world

“The 5-a-side team, some of them I’ve played with, some of them I admire,” the 39-year-old told The Greatest Game with Jamie Carragher podcast.

“The ‘keeper is Manuel Neuer. For me, he’s the best one I’ve seen and the best on I’ve played with.”

Carragher accepted this pick without fuss, but the same could not be said when Alonso chose Sergio Ramos as his next selection.

Alonso's selection of Ramos left his former teammate "a bit disappointed"
Alonso’s selection of Ramos left his former teammate “a bit disappointed”

The Real Madrid captain is vilified by Liverpool fans for his tackle which injured Mohamed Salah in the 2018 Champions League final, and Carragher confessed “I’m a bit disappointed.”

But Alonso stood firm and explained Ramos’ inclusion, saying: “He’s been my teammate for years and in the national team.

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“He’s won everything, has record caps for Spain, Champions League four times, World Cup, two Euros.

Ramos (centre right) and Alonso (right) had huge success with Real Madrid and Spain
Ramos (centre right) and Alonso (right) had huge success with Real Madrid and Spain

Are you surprised by Sergio Ramos’ inclusion in Xabi Alonso’s dream team? Have your say in the comments.

“So, for me – of course I’ve seen [Franco] Baresi – he’s close to him and he’s close to the others as one of the best central defenders in the world and in history.”

The next selection was much more to Carragher’s liking, with Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard chosen in midfield.

“He was such a big impact for me,” added Alonso. “I was 19 and I said ‘Wow, what is this. How can he play so easily?’

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The two midfielders forged a close bond, winning the Champions League and FA Cup together
The two midfielders forged a close bond, winning the Champions League and FA Cup together

“He was not playing, he was dancing on the pitch. He was so elegant with all his moves. I have admired him since then and apart from that he’s done everything in football and I love the way he played.”

Alonso then veered away from his own former teammates to choose a legendary forward duo of Diego Maradona and Ronaldo.

“He is an icon, the greatest I don’t know, but he is more than a footballer,” said Alonso of Maradona. “Like Muhammad Ali in boxing, Maradona is that in football.

The 2005 Champions League winner then opened up on how Ronaldo captivating him as a developing player, adding: “I was so young and he had such a big impact on me, watching football when I was 16, 17.

“I loved watching him. Later, I have been closer to as good a players as him, probably Cristiano or Messi, but for me he’s someone who is always on my mind.”

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