Q&A with Marcos!
Here’s a copy of Marcos’ interview in the BWFC official matchday programme, many thanks to BWFC for the words…
Football certainly runs in the family for Marcos Alonso. His grandfather represented Real Madrid for many years, earning a plethora of prestigious European honours, while his father enjoyed an equally impressive career playing for both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. Now, the third generation star is hoping to one day follow in their footsteps.
Alonso joined Wanderers in July 2010 from his hometown club Real Madrid, although he initially found it difficult to hold down a regular place in Bolton’s starting line-up. But now, under the stewardship of Dougie Freedman, the 22-year-old is enjoying his longest spell in the side and the full-back is reaping the rewards on the pitch. A star performer over the Christmas period, Alonso has gained many plaudits for his recent displays. And the left-back is confident that Wanderers can now end the campaign on a high and, while he still harbours hopes of one day returning to Spain to emulate his forefathers, he firmly sees his immediate future at the Reebok.
The official matchday programme sat down with the talented defender, asking him your questions, to find out about his time with Real, his family’s long footballing tradition and the moment he met Maradona.
How did you first get involved in football?
Since I was a kid all we used to talk about in my house was football. I have always liked football ever since I was very small. When I was young I just used to play for fun, but when I was about 11 I began to take it seriously and I knew I wanted to be become a footballer. Now I just want to continue to play here, keep on improving and play for the national team.
What team did you used to play for when you were growing up in Madrid?
I used to play for my local team before I went to play for a team linked with Real Madrid called Adarve. I played there for one year before having a trial with Real. I began to play for Madrid when I was 10-years-old and I played in every age group until I was 17, when I had a season-and-a-half playing with the second team while training with the first team. After that season there were a lot of teams interested in me and I decided that Bolton was the best option for me.
You have now established yourself in Dougie Freedman’s first team, how does it feel to be playing on a regular basis?
It feels really good to be playing regular first team football. That is what I have wanted for the last two years, but injuries meant I didn’t play as much. Now I am in the side and I just want to keep on improving. I am now really confident with the manager and the team and I just want to continue to play regularly, keep on improving and help the team win.
You have been in and out of the team for the last two seasons, has this been difficult for you?
Yes it was difficult for me, but I don’t want to think about it now and I just want to think about the future, starting with this game against Peterborough as we try and claim three points.
How has your game developed since you arrived at Bolton?
I think my career really started when I came here. When I arrived I had only played as a full-back for two years and I think I still had a lot to learn about defending. But now I think that I am a much better defender than I am going forward. I think I have learnt a lot about how to defend in England. The game is more physical here and we do more work in the gym, working on our strength and physical attributes.
Is there a big difference between the English and Spanish style of football?
It is quite different. Here, no team really tries to keep hold of the ball. Whenever a team gets the ball they always try to attack and move the ball forward. There really isn’t a lot of football played across the midfield and every time it is just a transition. One team attacks, loses the ball, then the other team attacks and loses the ball. In my opinion it is better for the fans here as they get to see a more open game, not like in Spain when a team goes up they sometimes don’t even try to move forward. Playing in England has helped with my development. Here you run more than you do in Spain. If I do ever go back to Spain I believe that I will be much better physically then I was when I left.
What are your plans for next year? Do you want to stay with Bolton?
I am just concentrating on playing football. I just want to play games. I am very happy to be here and I have been over the last two years. My head is at Bolton and I am enjoying my football.
Would you like to go back and play for Real Madrid again one day?
One day I would like to go back to Real Madrid, although I think I need to improve more as a player. I am very happy here at Bolton, but in the future you never know.
What was it like playing for Spanish giants Real Madrid?
It was amazing. You travel with the first team and you have 5,000 people waiting at the airport and at the hotel to greet you. There is then another 2,000 people following you wherever you go. People in all parts of Spain support Real. They are a big club, if not the biggest in the world.
Who did you play with while at the Real Madrid academy?
I trained with Juan Mata, who is now at Chelsea, when we were both at the Real Madrid academy. I was 16 and he was 18. I also used to play with Real’s new keeper Diego Lopez; he played at the academy too. With the national team, I was alongside Sergio Gonzalez who is at Valencia now; he is a good friend of mine. I was also in the same team as David de Gea, and I still see him a lot now. We have been friends since we were very young and I like to remain in touch with them all.
I’ve seen you and David de Gea out and about in Manchester, do you see eachother a lot?
Yes we do. A lot of the time we watch football together at my house or we go out for food. We also go shopping and we are now able to go the cinema as David’s English is getting better.
What kind of food do you like to eat?
I like Italian food – it is very good. There are some Brazilian places in Manchester which are also nice, but my favourite food at the moment would be Japanese. I usually go out and eat with my friends and family who come over from Spain. I catch up on a regular basis with Stuart Holden and we spend a lot of time together.
Has your English improved since you arrived?
When I first came here I didn’t know much English, but now I can have normal conversations with everybody at the club. But I still struggle a little sometimes.
Is it true that both your father and your grandfather played at the highest level in Spain?
When I tell people about my grandfather they can’t believe it. He used to play for Real Madrid and won five European Cups. My father played for Atletico Madrid and then for Barcelona, and they both played for the Spanish national team too. They are a real inspiration for me and give me the belief that I can play for the Spanish national team one day. When I was young I used to watch them on video and I was so impressed watching my grandfather playing in a European Cup final.
Is it true that your family are good friends with Maradona?
My father used to play with Maradona when he was at Barcelona and I met him when I was younger. I don’t really remember too much about it as I was too young. I actually have a picture with him which is amazing. I think both Maradona and Lionel Messi are the best players ever. I was about 3 or 4-years-old when I met Maradona. I saw him again when I was a little older but I don’t really remember. I just remember a lot of flashes from the cameras going off as he was there to meet my father. I used to find it weird that people wanted to speak to my dad and ask for photos and autographs while we were out. I now obviously understand why!
Who was your role model growing up?
I think if I had to choose a role model as an example for who I want to be in life then it would certainly be my dad.
How is Rodrigo doing now he is back at Benfica? Did we ever see the best of him at Bolton?
Last year he did very well at Benfica and he was playing great for the under-21 Spanish national team. This year I don’t think he is playing as much because Benfica have signed a couple of very good strikers, but he is only 22 and I think he has a very big future ahead of him. He has been playing well for the national team so after a bit of time I think he can become one of the top players in the world. He is definitely one to look out for in the future.
You have played for both Real Madrid and Bolton. What is it you like about white kits?
Ha, Bolton has now also changed to Adidas so the two kits are also very similar. I don’t really mind the colour of the kits, as long as I’m happy and playing! I’m just playing for Bolton and trying my best to help the team win.
Who did you support growing up?
It was quite complicated because my grandfather used to play for Real Madrid but my father played for both Atletico and Barcelona. My mum used to support Atletico, and to be honest when I was young I used to support Barca. But once I started to play for Real at a young age I had to support them. But now of course I support Bolton all the way!
You have trained with some top players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, what was this like?
I think it was very good for a young kid to play with those kind of players and I have really learnt from them. But now it is just a story to tell to my friends and family that I used to train with one of the best players in the world. Ronaldo was never an easy one to stop in training. He is an amazing player and I think his physical condition is incredible; the way he jumps is amazing. I think this comes from natural talent and his desire to work hard. The best thing he has is his ambition. He always wants more and he always wants to score more and more goals. I used to try and hit the free-kicks like him but I threw the towel in and I learnt to do it my way.
What type of player do you think you are and what is your favourite position?
My first aim is to always defend, but of course I like to help the team going forward as well. I like to score goals, I like to take free-kicks and I like the fans to enjoy the football we play. I think the game against Everton was a good game for me and I like to entertain the fans, but the most important thing is that we win. Training has been very good with the new manager. The way we are playing is much better and we can see that when we play against good teams like Sunderland and Everton. We just need to stick to this style of play and I think the results will come. With more hunger I think we can end this season in good shape and really push on up the league table.
Do you have any hobbies?
In my free time in the summer I like to surf. I also like going to Miami with my cousin, who is studying over there. So as soon as the season finishes, after the play-offs, I will pack my bags and be celebrating a play-off victory on the way to Miami!