Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti believes Xabi Alonso can follow him into the dugout after announcing the end of a glittering playing career.
On Thursday, former Spain midfielder Alonso confirmed he would retire at the end of this season.
The 35-year-old helped his country to glory at the 2010 World Cup, as well as title successes at Euro 2008 and 2012, while he also enjoyed decorated spells with Liverpool and Real Madrid before joining Bayern in 2014.
Ancelotti will already have to do without club captain Philipp Lahm next term, who made the same announcement as Alonso last month, and he spoke similarly warm words of a man capped 114 times by Spain
“I have to accept his decision. We’re losing a quality midfielder,” he told a news conference ahead of the Bundesliga leaders’ home match against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
“I am happy that I was able to train Xabi. He is a true professional and a wonderful person.
“We still have three months to work together and I hope we will win titles together.
“He wants to go on vacation but he has the qualities and the experience to become a fantastic coach in the future.”
Ancelotti confirmed goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is fit to face Eintracht as he continues to nurse a calf problem.
Jerome Boateng is in line to feature as a substitute following his return from shoulder surgery, although full-back Juan Bernat is unavailable.
“Boateng is a fantastic central defender. He won’t start the game but I want to give him some minutes,” Ancelotti added.
“He is fit, his condition is good. Now I have the possibility to rotate, because we have many important games in April.
“Juan Bernat has a little problem, but he will train again next week.”