Champions League

Alonso: Roma have progressed

2014-10-20 14:18
Xabi Alonso (Supplied)
Xabi Alonso (Supplied)
Cape Town - Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso believes that Roma stepped up their game last season and are now a real challenge to play.

Roma gave a dominant Juventus side a run for their money in the Serie A last season before having to settle for second place in the standings, a result which came on the back of a tough 2012/13 season in which the Giallorossi finished a disappointing sixth in the league.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with the Italian outfit, Alonso says that Rudi Garcia's outfit have shown tremendous improvement over the past 12 months.

"You could see last season that they have taken a step up - they are playing great stuff," Alonso told UEFA's official website.

"We faced them in a pre-season friendly with Madrid, so I know how they play. They are definitely going to be challenging for the Scudetto, and they want to reach the next stage in the Champions League.

"So for us, the one in Rome – the first one – is a vital game, because we have got six points from the first two games and we are in a good position."

While Alonso doesn't rate Roma as contenders for the title, the Spaniard believes there a number of clubs who could claim Champions League glory this season.

"Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, ourselves… Dortmund are always a tricky club to play against," he mused when asked about his favourites.

"So I respect lots of clubs; Paris Saint Germain as well. It's quite open."

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