It has been a long time coming. But at long last, Marcos Alonso’s continued success with Chelsea at the left wing-back position over almost two years has finally got him to join the Spanish national team on international duty.
Although Alonso did not have the chance to get his debut in Spain’s first game of this international break against Germany, he may very well do so in today’s encounter with Argentina. Either way, he's happy to be part of La Furia Roja.
“I’m very happy to be here. It’s a dream and a pleasure to represent my country. If I’ll have minutes only the coach knows. The stage [in Atlético Madrid’s stadium Wanda Metrolitano] and the rival [in the Argentinian national team] are without a doubt excellent and a beautiful test”
But even if Alonso is content with the current state of affairs, he is still ambitious. His focus is on the present, as in Spain’s upcoming match and then whatever comes his way at Chelsea. Still, going to the World Cup would be a dream come true for the defender, as it would be for any player.
“If I see myself in Russia? It is clear that it would be a dream, the dream of any football player. I focus on my club and the game at the Metropolitano.”
Alonso was already a good player at Fiorentina — although this includes a half-season loan spell at Sunderland — before moving to Chelsea on deadline day of the 2016 summer transfer window. Even then his signature went largely under the radar since most of the spotlight was turned towards the return of prodigal son David Luiz from Paris Saint-Germain.
When Conte famously switched to a three-man defence, Alonso became a cornerstone of the title-winning side at wing-back. Spain play different tactics, but not entirely unfamiliar ones for the 27-year-old.
“At Chelsea we play with a different system. [But] almost all my life I played with a line of four defenders at Real Madrid, and my adaptation to Spain’s tactics will not be difficult.”
Speaking of Chelsea, the inquest about the have hanged on the club on why they have not been able to sustain the success they had over the last few years, since their most recent Premier League titles have been followed with lacklustre seasons. Alonso, however, feels this fall in performance is a common circumstance. Especially with Manchester City bulldozing his competitors.
“In England, after winning the Premier League, it is normal for you to have a difficult year, especially with the level that Manchester City is maintaining throughout the season. Now we have an important end of season to get into the Champions League and fight for the FA Cup. We are looking forward to it.”
As mentioned by Alonso, the focus is finishing the season well under the guidance of Antonio Conte, whom he feels has been a great coach for the team.
“[Antonio Conte] has done a great job and we only think about finishing well”
Quickly after his arrival to join the Spanish national team, transfer rumours which have been a rare — if not a completely absent — occasion on Alonso’s spell at Chelsea were prompted by the Spanish media. Unfortunately for them (and most likely his agent), he did not follow up on these speculations as he has never given a though of leaving the club in the first place.
“I have not considered that possibility [of leaving Chelsea]. I just try to give my best to my team”
-Marcos Alonso; Source: Marca