Xabi Alonso Says He’s Staying at Bayer Leverkusen, Dismisses Speculation

Leverkusen's head coach Xabi Alonso prior to the German Bundesliga match between VfB Stuttgart and Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Stuttgart, Germany, Sunday, May 14, 2023. (dpa via AP)
Leverkusen's head coach Xabi Alonso prior to the German Bundesliga match between VfB Stuttgart and Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Stuttgart, Germany, Sunday, May 14, 2023. (dpa via AP)
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Xabi Alonso Says He’s Staying at Bayer Leverkusen, Dismisses Speculation

Leverkusen's head coach Xabi Alonso prior to the German Bundesliga match between VfB Stuttgart and Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Stuttgart, Germany, Sunday, May 14, 2023. (dpa via AP)
Leverkusen's head coach Xabi Alonso prior to the German Bundesliga match between VfB Stuttgart and Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Stuttgart, Germany, Sunday, May 14, 2023. (dpa via AP)

Coach Xabi Alonso is concentrating on Bayer Leverkusen and has dismissed speculation linking him with some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

The 41-year-old Alonso has enjoyed a successful start to his first senior coaching job after turning Leverkusen’s fortunes around and he said Wednesday he’s not finished yet.

“I’m very happy with the team and the club. I’m not thinking at all about my future,” Alonso said before Thursday’s Europa League semifinal match against Roma. “I’m fully focused on what I want, and I’ve spoken with everyone who needs to know.”

Asked if that meant he will be coaching Leverkusen next season, Alonso replied, “yes, that’s correct.”

Alonso, whose contract with Leverkusen runs to 2024, had been linked with taking over from Carlo Ancelotti at his former club Real Madrid or at Premier League club Tottenham.

Leverkusen was second from last in the Bundesliga when Alonso took over from the fired Gerardo Seoane last October. He has since led the team to seventh place with two rounds remaining, while a place in the Europa League final is still possible.

Leverkusen needs to overturn a 1-0 deficit against Roma when it hosts the Italian team for the second leg on Thursday.

“The first game was very close. We can expect more tomorrow," Alonso said. “The little details will be important. But I feel the energy from the team and if we give everything on the field, we can proud after the game.”



Nadal Reaches First Final Since 2022 French Open

20 July 2024, Sweden, Bastad: Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal celebrates after defeating Croatia's Duje Ajdukovic in the men's singles semi-finals of the Swedish Open. Photo: Steffen Trumpf/dpa
20 July 2024, Sweden, Bastad: Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal celebrates after defeating Croatia's Duje Ajdukovic in the men's singles semi-finals of the Swedish Open. Photo: Steffen Trumpf/dpa
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Nadal Reaches First Final Since 2022 French Open

20 July 2024, Sweden, Bastad: Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal celebrates after defeating Croatia's Duje Ajdukovic in the men's singles semi-finals of the Swedish Open. Photo: Steffen Trumpf/dpa
20 July 2024, Sweden, Bastad: Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal celebrates after defeating Croatia's Duje Ajdukovic in the men's singles semi-finals of the Swedish Open. Photo: Steffen Trumpf/dpa

Rafael Nadal reached his first final since the 2022 French Open by rallying to beat Duje Ajdukovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 Saturday at the clay-court Nordea Open.
After needing four hours to beat the 36th-ranked Mariano Navone in Friday's quarterfinals, Nadal had a slow start against Ajdukovic and was a break down in the second set before turning things around, The Associated Press reported.
“My opponent had one of the best backhands that I played against,” Nadal said. “It was very, very difficult, honestly, but I found a way to survive and be through to that final after a long time without being in a final. So that’s great news and I’m very happy with that.”
Nadal will play Nuno Borges, who beat Thiago Agustin Tirante 6-3, 6-4 to reach his first tour-level final.
Nadal is playing at the tournament in Sweden for the first time since he won the title as a 19-year-old in 2005 as he prepares for the Olympic tournament on clay at Roland Garros in Paris.
The 38-year-old Nadal skipped Wimbledon as he didn’t want to switch surface to grass and then back to clay and risk injury. He has been dealing with hip and abdominal injuries over the past 1 1/2 years.