- Full name Xabi Alonso
- Birth date November 25, 1981
- Birth place Tolosa, Guipúzcoa, Spain
- Current age 32 years 17 days
- Height 6 ft
A deep-lying midfielder, Alonso is a wonderful passer of the ball and has vision to rival any in world football.
A proud Basque, Alonso rose to prominence with Real Sociedad, the most prominent team in his province, and has football in his blood. His father, Periko, represented Barcelona and his brother, Mikel, has a spell with Bolton Wanderers on his CV. But after featuring for his country in Euro 2004, Alonso left San Sebastian to become one of Rafa Benitez's first acquisitions as Liverpool manager along with fellow Spaniards Josemi, Luis Garcia and Antonio Nunez. There is no question which player has left the biggest legacy at Anfield.
Winning the Champions League and FA Cup with the Reds, Alonso became a firm fans' favourite following a succession of influential performances but, when Benitez attempted to sell him in order to try and sign Gareth Barry in 2008 (which he failed to do), his relationship with the manager was never the same. After 210 appearances and 19 goals, and despite the 2008-09 season being perhaps his finest for the club, he joined Real Madrid for a fee of £30 million to an audible groan of disappointment in the red half of Liverpool.
Since then he has grown into an important and respected member of the Real Madrid side, with his respected range of skills also ensuring he became one of the few players to break the Barcelona monopoly on the Spanish national team.
Alonso would go on to win the World Cup with La Roja - famously taking a kung-fu kick to the chest from Nigel de Jong in the final - and enjoyed double success in 2012, knocking Barcelona off their perch by winning La Liga with Madrid and winning Euro 2012, scoring both goals in their quater-final victory against France on his 100th international appearance.
Strengths: Whether spraying a 60-yard pass to a forward or maintaining possession and dictating the flow of the game, Alonso is an expert manipulator of a football as well as reading the game superbly.
Weaknesses: He lacks any real pace and, the odd spectacular strike aside, does not contribute with enough goals.
Career high: While scoring Liverpool's third goal in the 2005 Champions League final as they famously came from 3-0 down to defeat Milan on penalties in Istanbul was a good moment, winning the World Cup with his country in 2010 probably just about trumped it.
Career low: Seeing Benitez become determined to sell him in the summer of 2008 in order to bring in Gareth Barry, resulting in his departure from Liverpool a year later.
Style: Controlled, visionary, creative, a consummate passer of the ball.
Quotes: "As a fan, I would say that Xabi is a great player. I think he is the best passer of the ball in Europe." Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, June 2009.
Trivia: Alonso is the only player in modern times to score consecutive goals from behind the half-way line for his club. He first achieved the feat in an FA Cup tie against Luton in January 2006 and his next goal for Liverpool was a soaring 70-yard effort to beat Newcastle's Steve Harper in September of the same year.
- Chelsea in frame for Xabi Alonso bid (May 3, 2013)
- Stop Alonso not Ronaldo, Fergie is told (Feb 13, 2013)
- Xabi Alonso hints at Premier League return (Dec 31, 2012)
- Alonso explains why he had to leave Liverpool (May 25, 2011)
Xabi Alonso advises Liverpool starlet on Sociedad move (Jul 30, 2010)