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5 matches that defined Xabi Alonso’s career

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Modified 20 Dec 2019, 10:04 IST

#2 25 May 2005 - UEFA Champions League Final - Liverpool vs. Milan

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - MAY 25:  Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso of Spain scores the third goal during the European Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan on May 25, 2005 at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
That night in Istanbul

Alonso joined Rafael Benitez’s Spanish revolution at Liverpool in the summer of 2004 and swiftly established himself as a key midfield operator despite missing three months of the campaign with a broken ankle.

He was particularly impressive during the club’s run to the Champions League final.

There Liverpool faced Carlo Ancelotti’s Milan. The Reds went in at the break 0-3 down following a disastrous first period but produced one of the competition’s most memorable comebacks to draw back to 3-3 in the second half before winning on penalties.

Alongside midfield partner Steven Gerrard, Alonso played a key role in the fightback. A half-time formation change gave the pair more freedom, and a combination of Alonso’s intelligent use of the ball and Gerrard’s driving runs saw Liverpool score three goals to level things up by the hour mark.

Alonso scored the third, striking home the rebound from his own saved penalty after Gerrard had been brought down inside the area.

“This is the best moment in my professional career,” Alonso said afterwards. “I am a European champion, and I cannot believe it.”

Published 14 Mar 2017, 01:13 IST
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