Top 10 greatest Real Madrid midfielders of all time
#9: Xabi Alonso
Xabi Alonso shook hands with Florentino Perez in August of 2009, signing for a £30 million fee. Arriving in the same transfer window as heavyweights Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Kaka, Alonso was expected to shore up Real's mediocre midfield with his versatility as a creative as well as a defensive midfielder.
A player gifted with technique and vision, Alonso was a crucial player for the Los Blancos in his six-year stint with the club.
The former Liverpool legend was known for pulling strings in midfield, with his devastating and pin-point long balls that helped the attackers break defences quickly and easily. Being a sturdy presence, the Spaniard was always the initiator of Madrid's attacks.
Alonso's vitality was well underlined by Jurgen Klopp in Madrid's famous 4-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park in 2013. Against a team that comprised of speed demons like Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria, Klopp thought it better to mark Alonso in the midfield.
As a result, the Spaniard failed to feed the ball to attackers with two players man-marking him continuously. That led Dortmund to their famous routing of the Los Merengues.
Also read: 5 matches that defined Xabi Alonso’s career
In short, Klopp literally insulated Madrid's supply with a simple yet effective technique. That just tells us how crucial his role in the team was.
Alonso played six seasons for Real Madrid, netting 6 goals in 236 appearances for the Los Merengues. In his tenure, he won 5 trophies and was a pivotal player in Real Madrid's dream to achieve the long-sought La Decima.
Published 06 Oct 2017, 12:35 IST