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Ex-Spain star Xabi Alonso replaces Seoane as Bayer Leverkusen coach

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Berlin, Oct 5, 2022 (AFP) - Former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has been named as Bayer Leverkusen's new coach, replacing Gerardo Seoane after he was dismissed by the Bundesliga club on Wednesday.

"Bayer and Gerardo Seoane go their separate ways. World and European Champion Xabi Alonso becomes new head coach of the Werkself," the club said on their Twitter account.

Leverkusen confirmed the departure of the Swiss coach in the wake of Tuesday's 2-0 loss at Porto in the Champions League.

As a player, Alonso won the 2010 World Cup and two European Championships with Spain. He also lifted the Champions League trophy with both Liverpool and Madrid.

Alonso scored the equaliser in the 2005 Champions League final for Liverpool to take the game to extra time, with the Reds eventually beating AC Milan on penalties.

He managed Real Sociedad's reserve team in his home Basque region for three years until May, seeing them promoted to Spain's second tier for the first time in 60 years, before they were relegated at the end of last season.

Seoane's exit at Leverkusen came after a string of poor results this term.

Despite guiding the side to Champions League football with a third-placed finish last season, Leverkusen have struggled badly this campaign.

They were eliminated by third-tier SV Elversberg in the first round of the German Cup and languish second-last in the Bundesliga after eight games.

Leverkusen chief executive Fernando Carro said on Sunday he wanted "quick results" from Seoane, whose side were thrashed 4-0 by Bayern Munich on Friday.

Former Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel, along with Adi Huetter and Domenico Tedesco had been rumoured as possible replacements for Seoane.

Alonso finished his playing career at Bayern Munich in 2017, having won the Bundesliga in each of his three seasons there.

He had previously been heavily linked with the coaching position at Borussia Moenchengladbach in March of 2021, but signed a one-year extension in Spain.

Alonso's first match in charge of Leverkusen will be against Schalke in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

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