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Former Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso reveals Barcelona contact

Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso reveals that he came close to joining Barcelona rather than Real Madrid when he left Liverpool.

Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso has revealed that he came close to joining Barcelona when he was at Liverpool.

Alonso joined Real Madrid in 2009 after spending five years with Liverpool, but the Spaniard has claimed that he almost moved to Camp Nou after "a conversation between Rafael Benitez and Pep Guardiola".

"It was the summer that Liverpool wanted to sell me, and there was a conversation between Rafa [Benitez] and Pep [Guardiola]," Alonso told El Pais.

"Pep told me about it in Germany. He told Rafa that he liked me a lot and I would fit very well with his way of playing, but Busquets had started in the first team and had tremendous potential. So Pep opted for him, and he was not mistaken. He turned into a great player for them.

"It was not that I was uncomfortable at Madrid, but I had been there five years and after winning La Decima I wanted to try something else."

Alonso, 35, has scored nine times in 111 appearances for Bayern since joining the German champions.

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 Jordi Alba of Spain jumps on teammate Xabi Alonso in celebration after a goal on a penalty kick by Alonso in the first half during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B match between Spain and Netherlands at Arena Fonte Nova on June 13, 2014
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina21131246
JapanJapan175830
United StatesUnited States16171346
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151137
AustraliaAustralia1031427
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
Today's Olympic highlights header

Saturday's key events


TRIATHLON
· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

SWIMMING
· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

ATHLETICS
· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

SAILING
· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

TENNIS
· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
EFL Cup
Olympic Games Men's Football
Scottish Premiership
Pre-Season Friendlies
Portuguese Super Cup
Taca da Liga
Scottish Championship
Scottish League One
Scottish League Two
Belgian Pro League
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Finnish Veikkausliiga
League of Ireland Premier
Belarusian Premier League
2.Bundesliga
Ligue 2
Major League Soccer
Brasileiro
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX
Chinese Super League
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
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