|Date of Birth||
25 November 1981
|Place of Birth||
Xabier "Xabi" Alonso Olano (born 25 November 1981) is a Spanish international footballer who played for Liverpool from 2004-2009. During that time he made 143 league appearances and scored 14 goals. He departed for £32,500,000 in 2009, joining Spanish club Real Madrid.
Alonso arrived at Liverpool from Real Sociedad in August 2004. He made his Premiership debut for the Merseysiders against Bolton Wanderers at The Reebok Stadium on August 29, 2004, a game that Liverpool lost 1-0. His first goal for Liverpool came from a free kick against Fulham on October 16, 2004. Liverpool were losing 2-0 at half-time, but Alonso's arrival as a substitute inspired a revival and an eventual 4-2 win.
Although a newcomer to the English league, Alonso has impressed with his vision and an exceptional range of passing. After an initial settling-in period, he established himself as one of the mainstays of Liverpool's midfield. He has become a permanent fixture of Benitez' sides and has endeared many fans with his long-range passing ability and deft touches to open opposition teams up, plus his commitment in defending. These, coupled with his steady composure and the ability to shoot with confidence, qualify him as one of the best in Europe to play in the central-midfield role.
After breaking his ankle following a tackle from Frank Lampard in Liverpool's 1-0 defeat to Chelsea on New Year's Day 2005, Alonso was ruled out of action for more than three months. He made his return earlier than expected in the second leg of the Champions League quarter final against Juventus. In the absence of skipper Steven Gerrard through injury, Alonso played for all 90 minutes, as Liverpool gained an improbable 0-0 draw in Italy to defeat the eventual Italian Champions on aggregate. Gerrard would later repay the favour to Alonso in the very next round, when Alonso was suspended from the second leg of the semi-final against Chelsea. Gerrard steered Liverpool to a 1-0 win with the help of a Luis García goal, putting Liverpool in the final against A.C. Milan.
In the Champions League final, Alonso played a crucial role as Liverpool completed an incredible comeback from 3-0 down at half-time to level the scores at 3-3. At 3-2, Liverpool were awarded a penalty, which Alonso stepped up to take. While Dida, Milan's acclaimed Brazilian goalkeeper, managed to save the penalty, Alonso fired the rebound into the roof of the net, making it 3-3. Liverpool went on to win the European Cup on penalties, capping off a very successful first year for Xabi Alonso in England.
On January 7, 2006, in a thrilling FA Cup third-round tie against Luton Town, Alonso assisted Liverpool to a 5-3 comeback victory after being down 3-1 early in the second half, by scoring two amazing goals: one from 40 yards, and the other from well inside his own half (65 yards from goal), as the opposition keeper had gone to the Liverpool penalty area to attack a corner kick. Astonishingly, it later transpired that a Liverpool fan had earlier placed a £200 bet on Alonso scoring from within his own half at some point in the 2005-06 season, and won £25,000 as a result.
During a 3-1 victory over Portsmouth on May 7, 2006, Alonso suffered an injury to his ankle in the 41st minute, which put his participation in the FA Cup Final in doubt. He recovered sufficiently to start the game, however, and, despite having to be taken off during the second half, he ended the day with a winners' medal.
Alonso was named in the Spanish squad for the 2006 World Cup. He scored Spain's first World Cup 2006 goal (his first international goal) against Ukraine on June 14, 2006.
On September 20, 2006 Alonso scored what the BBC described as "an outrageous strike" from his own half against Newcastle in a midweek Premiership fixture. In an interview on Sky News television, Alonso claimed he practises such long-range goals in training. Both goals were very similar, struck from inside his own half, but Alonso was in no doubt which was the best. He said, "I think this was better. The Luton goal bounced a few times, this one went quite straight. The Luton one was left-footed - it was different - but I am quite happy to score the goal." It was his first goal for Liverpool since the goal against Luton, making him the only outfield player in the modern professional game to score two consecutive goals for his club from inside his own half of the pitch. Liverpool went on to win the game 2-0.
Friday, June 8th, 2007 Xabi Alonso became the 4th player of June to re-sign with Liverpool. Signing a 5-year contract, which would have lasted until 2012 if fulfilled, Xabi Alonso silenced a flurry of transfer rumours. In the 2008 summer transfer window, Alonso was broadcasted in Rafa's plans to generate some funds in order to buy Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry, however, all rumors of transfer came to nothing and Alonso played the 08/09 in some may say was the best of his career.
In the 2009 summer transfer window, after a large amount of speculation, Alonso signed with Real Madrid for a sum about £30 million. It was after this that Rafa Benitez revealed Alonso had said he had wanted to leave for his 'dream club' a long time ago stemming from Rafa's need to offload him in 2008.
In an interview with Real Madrid in 2011 Alonso expressed his desire to stay at Liverpool F.C. and only left because Rafael Benitez forced him out.
- UEFA Champions League (1): 2005
- European Super Cup (1): 2005
- FA Cup (1): 2006
- FA Community Shield (1): 2006
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Xabi Alonso career stats at Soccerbase