Alonso was a part of Real Madrid between 2009 and 2014, and won La Liga once, Copa del Rey twice, the Spanish Supercup, and the UEFA Champions League game.
In those days, FC Barcelona was managed by Pep Guardiola and Madrid by José Mourinho, and there were many epic encounters. They were tense, heated affairs that sometimes were marred by persistent fouling, diving, personal insults, and conspiracy theories.
“We had that hunger, we had that competitive side that we felt that, ‘wow, they are good, but we want to compete, we want to beat them.’ But it was tough to compete against them and sometimes the games, I won’t say I regret a few things, but they were not the nicest things to see the match reactions... but so was much at stake on those games because it was almost trying to finish that kingdom, trying to be able to get close to them. They were big, big battles.”
Barcelona had Lionel Messi and Madrid had Cristiano Ronaldo, of course, but it’s also true that the Catalans had pillars of the national team such as Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, and Carles Puyol, while the capital club had the likes of Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, and of course, Alonso.
The midfielder spoke about playing such high-stakes games at club level against his national team companions.
”On the pitch they are enemies for sure, out of the pitch they were teammates and we lived great things together. At the time we thought, If we were too nice, they were gonna kill us and they were gonna beat us.”
“The first league game in Camp Nou, we lost 5-0 and that was the worst night I have ever lived on a football pitch. After 20 minutes I wanted to leave. I wanted to go home. I wanted to go shower and go home. It was so painful that it gave us a big hunger, a big determination to change things. We couldn’t be too nice with them.”
Barcelona won the league and the UEFA Champions League that year, although Madrid did take the Copa del Rey and then the league the next year.