Xabi Alonso

Xabier “Xabi” Alonso Olano (Basque: born 25 November 1981) is a Spanishfootballer who plays for Real Madrid as a central midfielder. He is well known for his passing ability, and is regarded as one of the best passers of the ball in the world.

Alonso began his career at Real Sociedad, the main team of his home region Gipuzkoa. After a brief loan period at SD Eibar, he returned to Sociedad where then-manager John Toshack appointed Alonso as his team captain. Alonso succeeded in the role, taking Real Sociedad to second place in the 2002–03 season. He moved to Liverpool in August 2004 for £10.5 million. He won theUEFA Champions League in his first season at the club, scoring the equalising goal in the Final. The following season, he won theFA Cup and the FA Community Shield. He moved to Real Madrid for the start of the 2009–10 season in a deal worth around £30 million.

He made his international debut in April 2003 in a 4–0 victory against Ecuador. While playing for Spain, Alonso has won the Euro 2008, the Euro 2012 and the 2010 World Cup, and he has also represented his country in the Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup. On 23 June 2012, Alonso won his 100th cap for Spain in the quarter-final of the Euro 2012 against France: he celebrated the occasion by scoring both of Spain’s goals to send them into the semi-finals.

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