Alonso: Rafa was my boss, not friend

Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has revealed his relationship with Rafael Benitez at Liverpool was strictly a professional one, so much so that he did not invite the Anfield gaffer to his wedding this summer.

The 27-year-old was the subject of one of the longest running transfer sagas of the close-season, with the big-spending Bernabeu outfit eventually getting their man for a fee in the region of 30 million euros to place him alongside Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

But although the Spanish international who made 138 league appearances for the Reds from 2004-09 - lifting the Champions League trophy in 2005 - was full of praise for the club following his successful stint on Merseyside, he admitted that the rapport with the manager never stretched outside of work's bounderies.

“I am starting a new era and I will be eternally grateful to Liverpool because they are a very special institution,” he told Champions.

“I jumped into the pool of their history and philosophy. I got involved in the city and loved living in the centre. I have grown as a person and as a player.

"Rafa and I always had a very professional relationship, yet there are a lot of urban myths about what we went through. It wasn’t so bad.

“His style is what has made him what he is. I suppose every now and again a player would appreciate a bit more closeness, a pat on the back, but Rafa is not that kind of guy.

“He told me to keep a balance. You are not a genius when things go very well, but neither a disaster when things go wrong.”