Grandson of a footballer —Marquitos, five-time European champion with Real Madrid— and son of another player —Marcos, Atlético and Barcelona international—, Marcos Alonso Mendoza (Madrid, 30 years old) is the third of the Alonso dynasty to have made a career with the ball. To do this, the full-back had to go from Madrid to the Premier at the age of 19 (Bolton Wanderers) and leave a mark with Italian football (Fiorentina), before returning to England through the Chelsea door. Formed in the Real Madrid quarry, he did not play for more than three minutes in his only First match with the Whites and today he faces Atlético.
Ask. Despite that boyish face, he is already 30 years old. The child of the house is no longer a child.
Answer. I handle it well. I find myself like never before. A long time ago I stopped being a child. The most important step was when I left Spain. I was 19 years old. That’s when I began to appreciate how lucky you are when you are at home and when I began to pick the chestnuts myself. I went alone, outside my country, to a different culture, and I knew how to grow as a person and as a footballer. I am happy in London after the odd move.
P. Leaving Real Madrid at the age of 19 to sign for Bolton shouldn’t have been easy, right?
R. It was a decision as important as it was necessary. He wanted to play and grow as a footballer, and there he saw it difficult. When I told my parents that I was leaving, I don’t know if they would like it, but they supported me. My father, from his experience as a professional, knows what it feels like to play and feel important. My mother understood it less, but she was also supportive. For a kid from the quarry it is always complicated. At that time I didn’t have the patience to fight. At that age what you want is to play. You do not understand that Sunday comes and you do not play, which is what you have been doing up to that moment. I was at the best club in the world, it was amazing, but at that age, between my hunger and little patience, I wanted to play wherever I went and we decided to go out. I do not regret. The beginnings were tough.
P. He really is an emigrant from Spanish soccer. His experience in Spain does not exceed a year in Segunda B with Castilla and a match in Primera with Madrid.
R. I am, I am. Total, total, 11 years old I have already been away. I did not play in Third or Second. I spent the time of Second B somewhere between two seasons and the game in the first team. My career is made outside my country, but I do not forget the day of my debut. It was very special because it was at El Sardinero. My family is from Santander. My grandfather and my father played there. I lived there when my father was Racing’s coach. And some relatives were in the field. My grandfather couldn’t because he was already regular, but he sure enjoyed it a lot. It was three or four minutes. I entered through Higuaín. The coach was Pellegrini. I was so nervous that I wasn’t very attentive to what he was saying to me. I just wanted to get in. I stood on the left side.
P. In his family, the equipment was divided into groups. His grandfather was a Madridista; his father, from Atlético and Barça. What were you from?
R. I, from Madrid. It was the team where he played. He was also always from the team where my father trained.
P. Divided into three stages, it has already been eight years in the Premier. What does this championship have that hooks everyone who lives it closely?
R. When I arrived in 2010, I already realized that it was different from what I had experienced. The atmosphere, the fields, the treatment of the player. The way of living football. Its intensity. It is another world.
P. You also played in Italy, in Fiorentina, what did it teach you?
R. Something different from what he had learned in England. I found myself a more competitive, more tactical football. In that Fiorentina the first season also cost me. Montella, the coach, didn’t even know me. They were the left back of the Italian team, Pasqual, who was from there, the captain, and the Peruvian Vargas, who sounded for Madrid. It was hard for me to play and they loaned me to Sunderland. I returned. The coach was the same and I told him that if he wasn’t going to count on me to tell me to find another solution. He said yes. The last two years were very good. I played alongside great footballers: Salah, Savic, Joaquín, Giuseppe Rossi, Mario Gómez, Borja Valero… I completed my style of play. I played European competition. Anyone could beat you. You couldn’t leave the games. I came out of Italy as a better player.
P. And what is it like to train every day with Joaquín?
R. Amazing. It changes the way you live. It makes you enjoy on and off the field. For what a hunk of a footballer he is, he has been underrated. In a club with greater projection than those he has played, he would have been a world-class footballer. I may have that thorn …
P. How the life of a footballer can change from one season to the next. Last time and at the beginning of this one, with Lampard I barely played and now with Tuchel it is indisputable.
R. It happens to almost all players at some point in their career. They are moments of suffering. There is only one room: train yourself more than ever. I’ve done. I have not given up. I have not let myself go; if he had, he would have agreed with the coach. I had already lived that experience before and with 30 years I knew how to manage the situation. In fact, at the end of last season I ended up playing and very well because I won it. I scored goals that helped the team a lot. But it was clear that the coach put me reluctantly, he did not finish trusting me and this season began with the same situation. You do not know what to do. You see that the coach does not count on you, the team is tenth and you doubt. That’s when I found the support of the family and convinced myself that the situation could be turned around. So it has been with the new coach. I’m playing now. Seeing how the team is, undefeated, it is a huge satisfaction.