Xabi Alonso is a former professional Spanish footballer, born on 25 November 1981 in Tolosa, Spain. Xabi has played for Real Sociedad, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in club football. He was also a part of Spain’s national team.
Alonso is arguably one of the best midfielders of his era. He played as a central midfielder however his skill set is not limited to that role. Lying deep in the midfield, he can be a good playmaker but can also play high up the field and still be equally lethal with his short passing and link up play.
Alonso’s long range passing to open the play is feared by his opponents, he is clinical and devastating from long ranges with his great shooting ability and is also an excellent dead ball specialist.
Apart from being extremely creative on the attacking aspect of the game, Alonso is very active when it comes to defending.
He is a powerful tackler and doesn't hold back when it comes to sliding in to make a challenge. Alonso has great game sense and can easily make key interceptions on the field.
Both his attacking and defensive abilities makes him a complete midfielder and moreover a complete footballer.
It was no surprise that Alonso was born to a great footballer Periko Alonso who had won the La Liga with Real Sociedad not once but twice in consecutive seasons and once with Barcelona as well.
Alonso was highly influenced by his father’s playing and started playing as a kid on the beaches. He also trained with his brother at CE Sabadell's training ground.
He dreamt of playing as a defensive midfielder and learned the playmaking side of the game from a very young age.
Alonso’s performance at the local youth side Antiguoko, where he went to play on weekends really attracted the Spanish scouts. Xabi soon joined youth team of Real Sociedad.
Alonso made his senior club debut for Real Sociedad against Logroñés in December 1999, in a Copa del Rey fixture.
On 30th April 2003, Alonso made his international debut for Spain against Ecuador, winning the game with lead of four goals to nil.
Rise to Glory
Alonso was a huge part of Real Sociedad’s success in the 2002-03 season, he won the league and was highly rated for his contributions as their young captain. He scored a total of 12 goals in all competitions.
The following season had different results, his contributions were great but the club didn't perform well as a whole and his interest in the side declined.
Clubs like Real Madrid came with attractive offers for the young spaniard, however he decided to join english side Liverpool who were under the manager Rafael Benitez. Alonso joined Liverpool in August 2004 for a fee of £10.7 million.
Alonso was immediately under the limelight in Liverpool for his passing skills and top class technique. Though he had a rough start, he was a very big part of the Champions League victory. A heroic display of football in the miracle comeback from a three goal deficit against Milan in the final was a historic moment for Alonso. He was the penalty taker when Liverpool were trailing 3-2, failing to score in the first attempt but successfully hammering the rebound in to the roof of the net, Alonso made the score 3-3 and the English side went on to win the finals in penalty shootout.
The Spaniard was also a big part of the FA Cup victory and made contributions in form of assists and long range goals. He scored two monstrous goals, one from 45 yards and the other 65 yards against Luton Town to comeback from 3-1 deficit in the third round of FA Cup.
One of the most remembered goals of Alonso would be his strike from 70 yards against Newcastle United, where he stunned everyone with sheer power and accuracy from long range.
In his time at Liverpool Alonso made a total of 143 appearances in all competitions.
Xabi decided to join Real Madrid on 5 August 2009 on a £30 million move. He was mainly played in deep midfield role for the spanish team. Though he was not scoring many goals and creating headlines, Alonso was very much an integral and important part of the midfield was played regularly unless he was injured.
His first league title of the career came in season 2011-12 with Real and he won his second Champions League title in the 2013-14 season.
He had a total of 158 appearances for Real in his time there.
Alonso joined Bayern on 29 August 2014. He served as a deep lying playmaker for them.
He had 79 appearances and 5 goals for the german club.
Alonso played in 4 matches out of a possible six in Euro 2008, Spain went on to win the tournament.
He was an integral part of the squad for the 2010 World Cup. He also played in Euro 2012 and won his third title for Spain.
Alonso also featured in the 2014 World Cup but Spain were knocked out of the tournament finishing third in their group.
The spaniard has 114 caps for Spain and has scored 16 goals.
Alonso retired from International football on 27 August 2014.
He announced his retirement from the game on 9 March 2017 and played his last game against Freiburg, assisting the opening goal and winning the match 4-1.