Xabi Alonso has returned to Real Madrid to begin his coaching career.
The former Los Blancos midfielder, who left the club for Bayern Munich in 2014, is taking charge of Real Madrid’s Infantil A youth team.
Alonso has made no secret of his desire to go into management, and has completed his UEFA coaching courses to that end. The next step to full-time coaching is to complete a year at academy level, which Alonso is beginning now.
Along with Alonso, former Madrid players Raul and Santiago Solari are also completing their first steps in coaching at Madrid’s academy teams. Raul is the manager of the Cadete B side while Solari is heading up Real Madrid Castilla.
Bale was seemingly inching towards the exit door at the Bernabeu before scoring twice in Real’s Champions League final victory against Liverpool in May.
Instead, manager Zinedine Zidane and team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo left Madrid after that triumph and Bale has since played a pivotal part under new boss Julen Lopetegui, scoring in Real’s opening two La Liga wins.
“It’s funny how it’s all worked out for Gareth,” Davies said.
“The middle of last season he was struggling with injury and Ronaldo was always the main man.
“Then he scores those goals in the Champions League final, Ronaldo leaves, and now he’s the main man.
“So he’s probably got what he’s always wanted there and he’s embracing it. As long as he stays fit he’ll go on and have a great season.”
Former Fulham and Tottenham midfielder Davies was in the Wales team the day Bale became his country’s youngest-ever player at the age of 16 years and 315 days in May 2006.
He witnessed Bale’s journey from teenage prospect to world superstar and believes Wales’ record goalscorer will go on to captain his country when veteran defender Ashley Williams leaves the international scene.
“Gareth is definitely a leader,” Davies said at a McDonald’s community day.
“You can just see he loves playing for Wales, and never misses a game if he’s not injured. When Ash decides to call it a day I can’t see anyone taking over other than Gareth.”
Wales boss Ryan Giggs names his squad for the inaugural UEFA Nations League qualifiers against the Republic of Ireland and Denmark on Wednesday.
The Ireland game on September 6 will be Giggs’ first at home after three friendlies in China and the United States since his January appointment.
“Ryan’s got a tough job,” Davies said of his former Wales team-mate.
“They hit the heights at the Euros (reaching the semi-finals in 2016) and it’s a bit of a transition period.
“He’s got to manage it and the country have to be aware of that. There’s more good youngsters coming through and Ryan’s got to bring them in and build again.
“But he always thought about the game a lot when he was playing and he’s definitely got the experience to do it.”
Davies was speaking at the McDonald’s & FAW Community football Day in Baglan. These football days are taking place across the UK this summer, giving thousands of children the chance to enjoy the beautiful game. www.mcdonalds.co.uk/communityfootballdays
14:00 – Real Madrid missing ‘best in the world’ Ronaldo, says Marcelo
Cristiano Ronaldo remains a significant loss to Real Madrid, according to his former teammate Marcelo.
The Brazil international told reporters after Los Blancos 4-1 win over Girona that a sizeable void remains following Ronaldo’s switch to Juventus last month.
He said: “[Ronaldo] is the best in the world.
“It’s obvious that you miss playing with him but Bale and Benzema are really good, too.”
8.40: Lopetegui praises Real Madrid’s mentality after Girona win
Real came undone at the Montilivi last season, beaten 2-1 despite taking an early lead, but refused to allow a repeat in their second Primera Division outing under the former Spain boss.
Borja Garcia’s fine finish hinted at history repeating itself but the visitors responded with four unanswered goals to take the points.
Two penalties either side of half-time – a nerveless ‘Panenka’ from Sergio Ramos and something more conventional from Karim Benzema – reversed the lead before Gareth Bale’s strike and a second of the game from the French forward.