XABI ALONSO has revealed all on his Liverpool exit in 2009.
The Kop legend, 35, announced his decision to retire at the end of the season this week.
And in an interview with Sky Sports’ Premier League World show, Alonso spoke out on why he turned his back on Liverpool eight years ago.
Crucial to his decision was a conversation with Rafa Benitez 12 months earlier, where the then-Liverpool boss made it clear Alonso could go.
The Spaniard stayed put before choosing to call it a day and join Real Madrid at the end of the next season for £30m.
Alonso, who spent five years at Anfield, said: “It’s professional football. At that moment I felt it was the right time to find a new challenge.
“Rafa told me that my position in the team wasn’t the one I expected – and that changed.
“It’s professional football and I dealt with it and I’m not going to complain about it.
“It hurt that we weren’t able to win the Premier League but we probably lacked a little bit of regularity.
“We missed a few chances in the early stage of the 2008/09 season but my memories were fantastic.
“The team was playing well, I was playing well. It wasn’t because I think that I had anything to prove.
“It was like, I was feeling well and I had no extra motivation to show anyone that I could play at that level.
“And at the end of the year, that’s when I told Rafa: ‘you wanted me to go last year, now is when I want to make a change’.
“And you know Real Madrid was a big change. It was a big challenge to prove myself that I was able to play as well at a top club like Real Madrid’.”