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Marcos Alonso enjoying life under Tuchel at Chelsea, but targeting eventual La Liga return

Pre-retirement plans

Marcos Alonso of Spain in action during the Uefa Nations... Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images

Marcos Alonso has been turning back the clock on his career this season, playing some of his best football for Chelsea since Conte’s first season in 2016-17, and even earning a recall to the Spanish national team for the first time in three years — then being one of their best players in their 2-1 win over Italy in the UEFA Nations League semifinals, consigning the European champions to their first defeat in three years. Coincidence? Probably not!

Unfortunately, Alonso is not getting any younger. While defenders can often peak later in their careers, Alonso isn’t strictly a defender to start with. And even these days, with all the advantages modern medicine and modern training techniques offer, 30-year-olds are much closer to making retirement plans than planning for a long career ahead.

Alonso, who has less than two years left on his Chelsea contract, knows that full well, and is already giving some thought (not much, but a little) to his career’s endgame — likely to take place back in his native Spain, where he’d like to add a few more minutes to the singular minute he recorded once while still at Real Madrid in 2010.

“I am doing very well [at Chelsea] and also, before retiring, I would like the opportunity to play in La Liga. It it not something urgent, I am doing very well at a great club and fighting for big titles. I have two years in my contract and we will see what happens in the future.”

Now in his sixth season at Chelsea, Alonso is one of the longest serving players at the club. But while he had seen his playing time diminish over the past couple years, this season has seen a renaissance of sorts with 6 Premier League starts to his name already — including one as captain — after collecting just 18 in 2019-20 and 2020-21 combined before Tuchel’s appointment.

Ben Chilwell, who arrived last summer from Leicester City, may be the long-term answer at the position, but Alonso’s enjoying the wing-back role that appears tailor-made for his long legs, technical abilities, and striker instincts.

“With us, [Tuchel] was able to change the team very quickly and now he wants to continue improving us. We are very pleased with the coach since day one, and to have him around this season.”

“[I’ve] I had a lot of great coaches. At the end of the day everyone has its things. It is clear that [Tuchel] is a great coach, in the footballing and the personal aspects. He reads matches really well, we prepare really well under him. It is an advantage having a coach like that.”

-Marcos Alonso; source: Cadena SER

Hopefully that can continue for a long while yet, perhaps even longer than Alonso’s Chelsea career itself.