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Former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has been appointed head coach at Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.

The 40-year-old will launch his managerial career in earnest after being asked to take over from Gerardo Seoane, who departed in the wake of Tuesday night’s 2-0 Champions League defeat in Porto with the club sitting one from bottom in the league table.

Alonso, who won the Champions League with both Liverpool and Real Madrid and three league titles during his time at Bayern Munich, has signed a deal which runs until June 2024.

The 114-times-capped Spain international, a World and European champion, told the club’s official website: “I know Leverkusen from my time in Germany as an excellent club.

“Bayer 04 have always had great players and I see a lot of quality in the current squad too.

“In my discussions with the club, it quickly became clear that, despite the currently difficult situation, ambitious goals are still being pursued in principle. I am very excited about this task and I am sure that we will live up to this aim.”

Alonso, who retired as a player in 2017, has since cut his teeth in coaching with Real Madrid’s youth team and Real Sociedad’s B team.

Bayer’s sporting director Simon Rolfes said: “In Xabi Alonso, we have signed a coach who, as a player, was an absolute world-class professional for many years, an intelligent strategist and extremely successful in three of the most demanding European leagues.”