| Gerlonso Alphabet Challenge | U | Unfinished business |
You became part of an extraordinary team, coupled with Mascherano in the middle?
Xabi: It was a very good team. We were very well balanced. A proper team, through and through. Our pieces fitted so well together. We had a great team. We would walk out onto Anfield and the people were confident we would win at home. It was the year we should have won the Premier League, but because of some silly draws at home it got away from us. But we were very close. We fought and were left with that sadness. I still have the sense of unfinished business in Liverpool, not having been able to win the league when we had enough of a team to claim it.
Benítez wanted to sell you in 2008?
Xabi: To raise funds to buy another player. This is football, it’s not the end of the world, but now I know where you stand and where I stand. Juventus showed some interest, Arsenal too. Eventually, nothing was done. I was going to continue at Liverpool for another season, but things were no longer the same. It stayed in my head, even though I played very well that year. No decision was taken, because there needs to be a new club. Then Real Madrid came forward. With this manager my time at Liverpool is running out. I didn’t want to stay any longer. But the thing dragged on and I was forced to submit a transfer request. It was the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make, because I lived and felt for Liverpool, it gave me so many things. It was hard. It wasn’t like I was betraying myself, but I would have liked to do more. I’m not complaining. I am extremely fond of the people over there and I receive their affection, but I am left with… this feeling of “such a pity, such a pity we weren’t able to…”
The unfinished business?
Xabi: Fuck. Those were five fabulous years and we won the Champions League, but I have that unfinished business feeling that we didn’t win the Premier League, which over there was every bit as longed for as the Champions League.