Recently Xabi Alonso announced he would be retiring at the end of the season. Because of this I wanted to look at the Spaniard’s career and write a sort of fact file on him.
Alonso started his career at Real Sociedad where he stayed for 3 seasons. The highlight of his stay there was a second-place finish and a Champions League spot in the 2002/03 season. Performing on the European Stage and Euro 2004 attracted attention from European giants. Real Madrid came close to signing Alonso but failed to meet the £13 million price tag placed on him. However, Liverpool agreed a £10.7 million deal for him.
Alonso arrived on Merseyside in the summer of 2004. He wasn’t the only Spaniard there, however, Rafa Benitez joined from Valencia and Luis Garcia was signed from Barcelona. In his first season Liverpool finished a mediocre 5th place, but their Champions League campaign was the highlight of the season.
Everyone knows the story of Istanbul, Liverpool 3-0 down in the first half and coming back to win on penalties. Alonso contributed by missing a penalty but turning the rebound in. He went on to collect his first Champions League medal. Winning the Champions League would be the highlight of his Anfield career although he also won an FA Cup and a Community Shield. He enjoyed a few more seasons before departing for Real Madrid in 2009 for £30 million.
Alonso’s spell at Madrid was a lot more fruitful winning one La Liga, 2 Copa Del Rey’s and one Champions League. He helped contribute to Real Madrid’s record breaking season where they picked up 96 points to beat bitter rivals Barcelona to the title. After winning the Champions League, Alonso joined Bayern Munich on a two-year deal where he claimed two Bundesliga titles and one DFB Pokal.
For his national side Alonso won 3 major honours, two Euro Championships and one World Cup. Alonso formed a midfield trio of Xavi and Busquets. That Spain team was the golden generation of Spain who deserved their success.
Alonso is famous for making the deep lying playmaker (or regista if you want to be technical) role his own. His accurate passing range and technical ability made him of the greatest midfielders to play the game. His long passing range fashioned many chances for his attackers. His powerful shot also made him a threat from range.
On March 9th Alonso confirmed his retirement on twitter, bringing an end to the career of one of the greatest midfielders to grace a football pitch.
Written by Ben, follow him on twitter @
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