Xabi Alonso reveals his biggest regret about Liverpool exit

Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso says he regrets the fact he never got to say goodbye properly at Liverpool.

Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has revealed his regret at the way he left the club.

Alonso was sold to Real Madrid in 2009, and returned to Anfield this weekend for Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard's charity All-Star game.

Speaking to the club's official website, he said: "When I left, I didn't have the chance to say a proper goodbye. Today was a kind of 'hello' to everyone - it was great to be back home. It was a great feeling.

"It brought all the memories back. It felt like I hadn't left for a long time. I was feeling at home. It's always special to be back at Anfield."

Alonso's sale ranks as Rafa Benitez's biggest mistake from his time in charge of the club. The Spaniard had been instrumental in their superb 2008/09 season in which they nearly won the league, but his influence was seemingly undervalued by his boss.

While Alonso insists the manner of his departure was sudden, it had been on the cards. When he joined Real, the BBC quoted him as saying: "A few months ago I took that decision as I thought it was the right moment to find a fresh challenge, to look for a new club.

"That's when Real Madrid came along. Luckily a deal has been done and I'm very happy."

Benitez left his post as Liverpool boss a year later after the side finished outside the top four.

Alonso quit Real for Bayern Munich last summer, and in the process missed out on a competitive return to Liverpool as Madrid were drawn together with the Reds in the Champions League weeks later.

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