MADRID (AP) — Midfielder Xabi Alonso says coach Carlo Ancelotti was the reason he decided to stay at Real Madrid.
The Spain international would have been out of contract in July but he agreed to a two-year extension on Wednesday.
Alonso says the Italian coach was insistent "I stay, he was even telling me this when I was injured. His public support for me was decisive in my decision."
The 32-year-old Alonso, who has been a regular starter since his arrival from Liverpool in 2009, says he was not contacted by Chelsea, now led by former Madrid coach Jose Mourinho.
Alonso is questionable for Sunday's game at Espanyol because of perforated left eardrum.
Alonso says "my role in the team hasn't changed. The team has improved but it can still get better."