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Xabi Alonso's evolution: How an elite long-range passer turned against long balls

·1 min

It’s been a remarkable season for Xabi Alonso in his first year as a manager. Taking over Bayer Leverkusen mid-season when they were second-bottom, he led them to an undefeated league campaign and ended Bayern Munich’s 11-year winning streak. Leverkusen will now compete in the Europa League final against Atalanta and are expected to win the domestic cup final against Kaiserslautern. Known for his intelligent play as a footballer, Alonso’s coaching style revolves around passing. He discourages long passes and focuses on shorter, more precise ones to involve his wing-backs in the attack.