One of the greatest midfielders of the modern generation, Spain, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich legend Xabi Alonso was born on November 25, 1981 in the small Spanish town of Tolosa, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country in Spain. He was born in a family of footballers with his father Periko Alonso being a successful footballer in top clubs in the Spanish division. He had won two La Liga crowns with Real Sociedad. He won another La Liga title when he joined Barcelona. Alonso lived in Barcelona for the first six years of his life and then moved to San Sebastian where he would start his career with Real Sociedad.
At Sociedad, Alonso would quickly progress through the youth ranks and earn his first-team debut at the age of 18 in 1999. Such impressive were his performances that less than two years after his debut and the ripe young age of 20, Alonso was made the captain of one of the biggest clubs in Spain. With Alonso at the base of the midfield leading them, Sociedad enjoyed some of the best seasons in their history, finishing second in the La Liga in the 2002-03 season. After a few good years though, it was time for Alonso to move on to bigger challenges.
He did that by moving to a foreign country in England, joining one of the biggest clubs in the world, Liverpool. He would soon establish himself as a fan favourite at Anfield, with his partnership with Steven Gerrard becoming one of the greatest midfield partnerships of the Premier League era.
At Liverpool, he would taste the biggest success a club footballer can enjoy, winning the UEFA Champions League in his first season at the club, after Liverpool beat AC Milan on penalties in the final in Istanbul, in what is considered by many as the greatest European match and the greatest Champions League final in history. He would win the FA Cup in the following season but a Premier League trophy eluded Alonso and the best team which Liverpool had built in years under Rafa Benitez.
Alonso wouldn’t leave Liverpool on the best of terms as he was sold against his wishes to Real Madrid. He had a fallout with manager Rafa Benitez as he wanted to replace him with Gareth Barry, in what has gone down as one of the biggest managerial blunders in history. He would join Real Madrid in 2009 who were starting over the second part of their Galactico project signing players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema.
He would enjoy great success at Real Madrid, becoming an undroppable member of the squad. In his four seasons at the club, he would win everything including the La Liga, the UEFA Champions League and the Copa del Rey.
He would then move to Bayern Munich, dictating the tempo for Pep Guardiola’s side and would win the Bundesliga in his every season at the club. He would also win the German Cup on multiple occasions. He would retire from the game after the conclusion of the 2016-17 season.
Alonso was also a key member of the Spanish Golden generation winning two UEFA Euros and the FIFA World Cup in 2010. He would win 114 caps for Spain, being one of the Spanish teams highest capped players in history. Along with Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta, he would form one of the most dominant midfield in the history of the game. He would score 16 goals for the Spanish national side. He would retire from international duty after Spain failed to retain their World Cup title in 2014.