Xabi Alonso with Bayern Munich in August 2014.
|Full name||Xabier Alonso Olano|
|Date of birth||25 November 1981|
|Place of birth||Tolosa, Spain|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|1999–2000||Real Sociedad B||39||(2)|
|2000–2001||→ Eibar (loan)||14||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20:30, 26 August 2016 (UTC).
Xabier "Xabi" Alonso Olano (Basque: [ˈʃaβi aˈlons̺o oˈlano], Spanish: [ˈ(t)ʃaβj aˈlonso oˈlano]; born 25 November 1981) is a Spanish footballer who plays for German club Bayern Munich as a central midfielder.
Alonso began his career at Real Sociedad, the main team of his home province Gipuzkoa. After a brief loan period at 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 the UEFA Champions League in his first season at the club, under manager Rafael Benítez, scoring the equalising goal in the Final against Milan. The following season, he won the FA 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. After five seasons at the club, winning honours including a league title in 2012 and the Champions League in 2014, he was signed by German Bundesliga club Bayern Munich on a two-year contract.
He made his international debut for Spain in April 2003 in a 4–0 victory against Ecuador. While playing for Spain, Alonso has won Euro 2008, Euro 2012 and the 2010 World Cup, and he has also represented his country at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup. On 23 June 2012, Alonso won his 100th cap for Spain in the quarter-final of Euro 2012 against France; he celebrated the occasion by scoring both of Spain's goals to send them into the semi-finals. Following Spain's failure to progress out of the group stages at the 2014 World Cup, Alonso retired from international football on 27 August 2014. His 114 caps make him the fifth-most capped player in the nation's history.
- 1 Early years
- 2 Club career
- 3 International career
- 4 Style of play
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Politics
- 7 Career statistics
- 8 Honours
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Alonso was born in the small town of Tolosa, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, into a family known for its footballing prowess. His father, Periko Alonso, won La Liga twice in successive seasons with Real Sociedad and a third time after he moved to FC Barcelona. He also featured in the national team, winning 21 caps over the course of his career. Xabi Alonso lived in Barcelona for the first six years of his life and moved to San Sebastián (Donostia) thereafter. It was here that his passion for football began as he whiled away his childhood playing at Playa de la Concha (Shell Beach). On the Basque sands, Alonso befriended a fellow resident of Calle Matia, Mikel Arteta, and the two would battle each other in exhibitions of technical ability. He was immersed in football and his father would often bring him and his older brother, Mikel, to CE Sabadell's training ground to practice together. Alonso was influenced by his father's playing, taking more pleasure in passing the ball well than shooting at goal. At an early age, he decided to play as a defensive midfielder, a role which helped him learn how to distribute the ball well. This talent would later prove to be an integral part of his club and international career.
At the age of 15, Alonso went to the Irish town of Kells, County Meath, on a school exchange programme to learn English. There, he helped the local Kells junior football team to win an All Ireland Junior club title in Keating Park, Chairsiveen.
Alonso and Arteta were ambitious and dreamed of playing alongside each other for Real Sociedad when they were older. Though they attended different schools, the two young players joined forces at the local youth side Antiguoko, playing games at the weekend. Their performances attracted the attention of scouts from top Spanish sides and the young Donostiarras separated ways, ending nine years of friendly rivalry, as Alonso went to Real Sociedad and Arteta moved to Catalan giants Barcelona. Alonso's move to Real Sociedad, however, was not a companionless one, as he was joined by his older brother Mikel, who had also become an adept player.
Alonso progressed through the youth ranks and the reserve team at Real Sociedad and impressed enough to earn a first team debut at the age of 18. He made his first senior appearance against CD Logroñés in December 1999 in a Copa del Rey match. Alonso failed to make another appearance in the season but the following year brought more opportunities. At the beginning of the 2000–01 season, Javier Clemente sent Alonso to Segunda División team SD Eibar to gain experience. Alonso's father particularly felt the move to the smaller club improved him as a player. A quick turnover of managers, however, including a two-month period with Periko Alonso in charge, left Real Sociedad in a dire situation. By January 2001, Real Sociedad were bottom of the league and the new manager, John Toshack, turned to the prodigious Alonso in the hope of reversing the team's fortunes. In a surprise move, the Welsh manager made 20-year-old Alonso the team captain, a position traditionally held by more senior players. By the end of the season, Sociedad had climbed out of the relegation zone and finished in 14th place. Toshack lauded Alonso, noting that the impression he had on the team was exceptional, especially for a player from the youth team.
Under the tutelage of John Toshack, Alonso's captaincy marked a resurgence of form for Real Sociedad. Toshack recognised Alonso's potential and invested much time in his young captain, creating a training method designed to improve his touch and control specifically for him. The team cemented their mid-table position in the 2001–02, finishing in 13th place. Alonso appeared consistently in La Liga with 30 appearances over the course of the season and also scored his first league goal, finishing with a season total of three. Real Sociedad's management changed again in the summer of 2002, with the arrival of Raynald Denoueix but Alonso kept his place in the first team on the strength of his past performance.
The 2002–03 season was the club's best league performance since the 1981–82 season, in which they won the league. The Basque team finished second, two points behind Real Madrid, setting a club record for their highest ever points total, and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for the first time. Alonso received much praise for his role in the team's success, and was given the Best Spanish Player award by Spanish sports magazine Don Balón. In addition, Alonso significantly contributed to the team's goal tally, scoring 12 goals in all competitions. His performances earned Alonso national repute and Iñaki Sáez, the coach of the Spanish national team, called him up for La Selección. Alonso made his international debut in April 2003 in a 4–0 friendly win over Ecuador. Sáez raved over Alonso, saying, "He has a fantastic range of accurate passing [and] sees football with an extraordinary clarity."
The 2003–04 season comprised mixed results for Alonso and his San Sebastián club. Alonso revelled in the opportunity to perform in Europe, appearing in all the team's games, and Real Sociedad qualified for the knockout phase of the Champions League. The team struggled under the pressure of the extra matches, however, and were promptly knocked out of the tournament by Olympique Lyonnais and finished 15th in La Liga. The combination of Alonso's outstanding performances and the team's poor league finish made a move away from Estadio Anoeta inevitable. Despite interest from La Liga champions Real Madrid, Alonso remained committed to Real Sociedad. Madrid failed to meet the £13 million price tag that José Luis Astiazarán, the Real Sociedad president, had placed on Alonso and the deal reached a stalemate. Alonso had other concerns and focused on international duty with Spain at the Euro 2004 tournament. Despite the fact that Alonso's appearance at the tournament was brief, he caught the attention of retired footballer Jan Mølby, who was impressed with his precise passing abilities.
The summer transfer window at Real Sociedad saw the arrival of Alonso's childhood friend Mikel Arteta. Arteta was ecstatic at the prospect of partnering Alonso in midfield but his excitement was short lived. Alonso was not picked for Real Sociedad's pre-season friendlies, signalling that an offer by Liverpool was being treated seriously. The Basque side announced on 20 August 2004 that they had made a deal worth £10.7 million with Liverpool and Alonso had agreed terms with the Merseyside team. Alonso did not lament the fact that a move to Real Madrid had not materialised. Instead, he concentrated on integrating with the new Spanish contingent at Liverpool under the guidance of former Valencia CF manager Rafael Benítez.
2004–05: Champions League victory
Alonso arrived at Liverpool along with Luis García from Barcelona, marking the beginning of a new era at Anfield. Liverpool's new coach, Rafael Benítez, sought to revolutionise the club and completely overhauled the squad, impressing his own management style and tactics upon the team. The technical Spaniards were Benítez's first signings and he remarked that their emphasis of skill over strength offered the team something different. Alonso made his Premier League debut for the Merseysiders against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium on 29 August 2004. Liverpool lost the fixture 1–0 but Alonso was already receiving praise for his passing skills from the press. A Premier League tie away against Fulham displayed more of Alonso's talents. Liverpool were losing 2–0 at half-time and Benítez brought on Alonso as a substitute after the break. He revived a deflated Liverpool and the game finished 2–4 to the Merseyside team. Furthermore, Alonso scored his first goal for the team from a free kick to bring Liverpool ahead of the opposition.
Alonso continued to provide important goals for the club, scoring his first goal at Anfield against Arsenal in a 2–1 victory. Alonso was elated at the achievement and felt he was settling in well in England. The Arsenal game marked the return of Steven Gerrard from injury but Alonso's midfield partnership with the team captain came to a halt when Alonso suffered his first setback at Liverpool. Alonso's ankle was broken following a tackle from Frank Lampard in Liverpool's 0–1 home defeat against Chelsea on New Year's Day 2005 and the Spaniard was ruled out of action for three months.
He made his return to the first team in the second leg of the Champions League quarter final against Juventus. Alonso was not at full fitness but, as Steven Gerrard was injured, he played for the full 90 minutes and Liverpool held the score at 0–0 in Italy, defeating the eventual Italian champions on aggregate. Kevin McCarra of The Guardian paid testament to Alonso's skill and dedication to the game, saying, "This marvellously accomplished footballer testified in the Stadio delle Alpi that technique can overcome a serious physical disadvantage." In the next round against Chelsea, Alonso received a yellow card in a tense and scrappy 0–0 draw at Stamford Bridge, making him suspended for the following fixture. Alonso was distraught that he would miss the game and vehemently contested the referee's decision to no avail. Gerrard returned from injury for the second leg, however, and the captain steered his team to a 1–0 win with the help of a Luis García goal, qualifying for the final against Milan.
Liverpool's fifth-place finish in the Premiership left much to be desired but debut season glory still awaited Alonso in the form of the Champions League final. The team fell three goals behind Milan but completed a dramatic second-half comeback. Liverpool, trailing 3–2, were awarded a penalty and it was decided that Alonso would take the spot kick. While Dida, Milan's acclaimed Brazilian goalkeeper, managed to save the penalty Alonso fired the rebound into the roof of the net, bringing the score to 3–3. Extra time passed without a goal from either team and Liverpool won 3–2 in the penalty shootout. Alonso was praised for his pivotal influence on the team's comeback and manager Benítez reinforced his importance to the team. Alonso was ecstatic with the win, commenting, "This is the best moment in my professional career."
2005–06: FA Cup winner
Alonso was ever-present in the first team in the 2005–06 season, largely avoiding injuries that had marred his first season at the club. The summer transfer window brought Peter Crouch to Liverpool and the striker's height sparked accusations that the team would change to long ball tactics. Crouch denied this, highlighting that Alonso's passing ability, alongside Gerrard, would define Liverpool's style of play. Alonso faced more competition for his place in the form of new arrival Mohamed Sissoko. However, Steven Gerrard's injuries and Rafael Benítez's favouring of a 4–5–1 formation ensured Alonso's place in the team. Alonso appeared in all of Liverpool's games in the Champions League but the dominance shown in the previous season had gone as the team lost to Benfica in the knockout stage.
On 7 January 2006, in an 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. Alonso scored two impressive goals from distance: one from 45 yards, and the other 65 yards from goal; behind the half-way line. Consequently, Alonso's goals marked a stroke of luck for a Liverpool fan who won £25,000 from a £200 bet on Alonso scoring from within his own half. Alonso suffered an ankle injury in a 1–3 away victory over Portsmouth, putting his participation in the FA Cup final in doubt. However, he recovered sufficiently to start the game against West Ham United and Gerrard scored Liverpool's third goal from Alonso's free kick, pulling the team ahead of the opposition. Alonso, still affected by the injury, could not manage the whole 90 minutes and was substituted in the second half. Liverpool won on penalties without his help but Alonso still earned his first FA Cup winners' medal.
On 20 September 2006, Alonso scored what the BBC described as "an outrageous strike" from his own half in a 2–0 Premiership win against Newcastle United. Andy Hunter of The Independent described it as "one of the most audacious goals in Anfield's rich 115-year history." Alonso rebutted claims that his 70-yard goal was all down to luck and stated that he took long range shots as part of his training routine. Despite the similarity of the goals struck from inside his own half, Alonso was in no doubt which was his 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 distinct history as the only outfield player in modern professional football history to score two consecutive goals from inside his own half of the pitch.
On 8 June 2007, Alonso signed a five-year contract, stating, "I knew there was interest from other clubs but it was always my idea to stay here. I have been here for three seasons now and have such special feelings for the club and the supporters. I understand what Liverpool means to so many people. It is such a special club and I just didn't want to leave." The 2007–08 season started well for the Spaniard: Gerrard's absence led to Alonso playing in a more advanced position and he scored twice in a 6–0 rout against Premier League newcomers Derby County. However, the bright beginning was short-lived as a minor injury sustained in a game against Portsmouth became aggravated in training. The metatarsal injury forced him out of training for six weeks but his return to the first team was rushed and his injury recurred in his first game back. Alonso's determination and passion proved to be his downfall, and he later reflected, "I had been feeling a bit tired around that time because it was only my first game back and the match was very fast. But as a player you don't want to come off, particularly when the team is winning and I stayed on."
Alonso returned from injury at December 2007, but over the following months he increasingly faced competition for a place in midfield from Javier Mascherano and Lucas. His role in Liverpool's five-man midfield role was assured, however, as Rafael Benítez regarded him as "a top class player," stating that Alonso had the ability to change games and break down the opposition's defence. Alonso made his 100th league appearance for Liverpool on 12 January 2008 against Middlesbrough.
The 2008 summer transfer window suggested a move away from Merseyside, as Liverpool pursued England international Gareth Barry to replace Alonso. By the start of the 2008–09 season, neither Alonso or Barry had moved club but the drawn-out transfer saga had left the Spaniard feeling unsettled at Liverpool and unsure of his position in the team. However, the club's fans did much to restore his spirits, supporting him on and off the pitch, and Alonso responded to this, saying:
- "[The fans] couldn't have done more to show me how they felt... If I went out for lunch or a coffee, there was always someone who would come over and say, 'We'd love you to stay'. I'm just glad that, in the end, nothing came of it [the transfer] because it wasn't something I ever asked for."
Despite the events of the summer, Alonso made a confident start to the season and both his peers and the press praised his strength of character, citing his influence as a factor in the team's strong opening to the season. Alonso's importance to the team was further underlined when he scored the only goal, through a deflection, in a 0–1 victory against Chelsea, making Liverpool the first away team to win at Stamford Bridge in over four years. Statistical analysis reflected Alonso's good form: on 11 December figures from Opta Sports revealed that he was the first Premier League player to complete 1,000 successful passes in the season. His last goal for Liverpool came in their 1–3 away win at Hull City on 25 April, striking after his free kick deflected off the Hull wall.
Alonso completed his £30 million move to Real Madrid on 5 August 2009. It has been suggested that he never wanted to leave the Anfield side, with his contract existing until at least 2012, and that his departure was due to differences with Benítez. Former teammate Steven Gerrard said he was "devastated" by Alonso's decision, and cited his departure as one of the reasons behind Liverpool's poor run of form at the start of the following season.
Alonso was given the number 22 jersey in Madrid and played in a holding midfield position. He scored his first goal for his new team on 21 February 2010, a penalty against Villarreal in a 6–2 win. Unless he was injured or suspended, Manuel Pellegrini started Alonso in every match of the Champions League and in La Liga in his first season at Real Madrid. In La Liga he helped the club finish with a club-record 96 points, three points behind winners Barcelona. It was the third time in Alonso's career that he helped his team set a new club record in terms of points gathered, while finishing in second position (he achieved the same feat with Real Sociedad in 2002–03 and with Liverpool in 2008–09). During his first season at Real Madrid, Alonso scored three goals and was considered one of the club's "most consistent" players. Readers of Marca made him part of their La tiga team of the season, as their choice defensive midfielder; the only other Real Madrid player featured was Cristiano Ronaldo. Alonso received the same accolade from ESPN Soccernet. He was also a nominee in the LFP Awards, awards given out by the Liga de Fútbol Profesional, the Spanish Football league. Alonso was nominated in the Best Midfielder category, alongside Xavi and Javi Martínez. Several members of the Spanish press, as well as a number of Real Madrid supporters, gave Alonso a new nickname during the season: La Barba Roja (The Red Beard).
His second season at Real Madrid started with the arrival of a new manager, José Mourinho. He was given the number 14 jersey after the departure of vice-captain Guti. He did not score any goals that whole season but was vital. While he believed that Real Madrid would win the league, the club only managed to win the Copa del Rey.
Alonso started his third season at Madrid by scoring the second goal in a 2–2 draw against Barcelona in the 2011 Supercopa de España at the Santiago Bernabéu. On 21 September 2011, he played his 100th official game for Real Madrid in the 0–0 draw against Racing de Santander. Alonso continued to be an undisputed force in the starting eleven and ultimately claimed the first league title of his career.
2013–14: La Decima
On 8 January 2014, Alonso signed a contract extension with Real Madrid, which would have kept him at the club until 2016.
On 29 April 2014, Real Madrid defeated Bayern Munich 4–0 in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final to qualify for the 2014 UEFA Champions League Final on a 5–0 aggregate win. Alonso received a yellow card after a sliding tackle on Bastian Schweinsteiger in the first half; as he already had two before the match, this ruled him out of the final. He claimed his second Champions League winners medal as Real defeated Atlético Madrid 4–1 in extra time.
On 29 August 2014, Alonso moved to Bayern Munich on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee. He made his debut the following day, starting in a 1–1 draw at Schalke 04. On 27 September 2014, in the match against 1. FC Köln, Alonso broke the record for most passes completed in a Bundesliga game, with 196. He scored his first goal for the club on 18 October 2014, a free kick in a 6–0 win over Werder Bremen.
On 17 February 2015, in his 100th Champions League appearance, Alonso was sent-off for a second bookable offense in a 0–0 draw against Shakhtar Donetsk. Alonso was suspended for the return leg of the fixture, which Bayern won 7–0. Alonso would go on to record his fourth goal, another free kick, against Porto in the Champions League quarter-final. Bayern would go on to win 6–1, advancing to the semi-finals for a fourth-straight season on aggregate, 7–4.
On 28 April 2015, Alonso was one of four Bayern players, all FIFA World Cup winners, to miss in a 2–0 penalty shootout defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal semi-final. He was also the only player to miss as they lost the shootout at the end of the 2015 DFL-Supercup away to Wolfsburg, his attempt being saved by goalkeeper Koen Casteels.
On 18 December 2015, Alonso signed a new contract with Bayern, keeping him at the club until 2017.
2006 World Cup
Alonso was named in the Spanish squad for the 2006 World Cup and he scored Spain's first goal of the tournament, his first international goal, against Ukraine on 14 June 2006. Despite a successful group phase, where Spain won all their games, Alonso did not achieve international glory as the team were beaten by the eventual finalists France in the first knockout stage of the tournament.
Liverpool's 2007–08 season finished trophyless but the opportunity to win honours awaited Alonso in the form of the Euro 2008 tournament. Alonso featured mainly as a substitute but, with key players resting, he captained Spain in the final group game against Greece, earning the man of the match award. Despite a strong performance, he could not attain a starting position in the team, highlighting Spain's strength in depth. Spain went on to win the tournament and he featured in four of Spain's six matches. Speaking to Spanish journalist Guillem Balagué, he said that Spain's victory was deserved and the players' teamwork had been crucial to the team's undefeated run in the tournament. The Basque was ecstatic at the achievement, declaring, "Right now, we're all just living the moment. It's incredible and we're all walking around in a dream. It's fantastic." Alonso's international success continued as he scored twice in a 3–0 win in a friendly against Denmark in August.
2009 Confederations Cup
After Spain were surprisingly eliminated from the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup by a defeat to the United States, Alonso and Spain faced South Africa in the third-place match. After 90 minutes, the game was deadlocked at 2–2, so extra time was added, where Alonso scored a free-kick in to the bottom corner of the goal to help Spain win third.
2010 World Cup
Alonso started every game for Spain during the 2010 tournament, playing alongside Sergio Busquets and Xavi in midfield and helping his side to lift their first-ever World Cup trophy. In the 28th minute of the final against the Netherlands, he received a "Kung fu-style" kick to the chest from Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong, the foul was controversial since it appeared to be a foul worthy of a straight red, but was only ruled out to be a yellow card given by referee Howard Webb. This left Alonso in pain and in fear of a broken rib. Despite this pain, he continued playing on for another hour.
On 23 June 2012, Alonso played his 100th match for Spain in the quarter-finals against France in which he scored both goals in a 2–0 victory. The first goal came after he magnificantely headed a cross from the left flank delivered by Jordi Alba, while the second one came from a penalty kick given after Pedro was fouled by Anthony Réveillère in the dying seconds of the match. Alonso's penalty in the semi-final shoot-out against Portugal was saved by Rui Patrício in which Spain went on to win 4–2 after a 0–0 draw in the game itself. Alonso and Spain went on to beat Gianluigi Buffon and Italy 4–0 in the finals. This was Alonso's third major title win with Spain.
2014 World Cup
Spain were again amongst the favourites for cup victory in the 2014 World Cup, but had a very disappointing campaign that ended in the first round. Alonso scored a penalty in the 27th minute of their first match against the Netherlands, though he was substituted in the 62nd minute with Spain down 2–1. The match ultimately ended with a resounding 5–1 win for the Netherlands. Spain then suffered another defeat, this time falling 2–0 to Chile. In that match, Alonso received a yellow card in the first half and was substituted at half-time with the score already at 2–0. Spain were then eliminated from the tournament but did win their final match 3–0 against Australia and finished third in the group; Alonso played 83 minutes in the match.
Alonso retired from international football on 27 August 2014.
Alonso made his debut for the Basque Country national team in a friendly against Ghana on 29 December 2001 and received regular call ups since, while – due to his busy club schedule – not always being able to appear. Most recently, Alonso appeared for Basque on 29 December 2012 in a 6–1 victory over Bolivia.
Style of play
A complete, consistent, hardworking and versatile midfielder, Alonso is regarded as one of the best players of his generation, and is effective both creatively and defensively. Gifted with good technique, excellent vision, and varied passing range, he excels in the centre in a deep-lying playmaking role, where he can best use his accurate long passing ability to create goal scoring chances for team-mates; he also possesses a powerful and accurate shot from distance, and he is an effective set-piece and penalty kick taker. Due to his height, positioning, and physical characteristics, Xabi Alonso is also effective in the air, often contributing with headed goals from set pieces when advancing into more offensive positions. In addition to his creative attributes, he is also capable of excelling as a defensive midfielder due to his strength and powerful physique, combined with his tenacity, tactical intelligence, aggressive tackling and his ability to read the game. He has at times been criticised, however, for occasionally committing rash challenges, and for his tendency to lose his composure and pick up unnecessary cards for particularly hard fouls.
Alonso was regarded as a quiet and friendly person by his former teammates at Liverpool. He is married to Nagore Aranburu and the couple have three children: Jontxu, Ane and Emma. Alonso stayed in Merseyside to be at her side while she gave birth, later saying, "It was a little frustrating to miss the match against Inter but I have to be with my family at times like these." His decision to place his family ahead of a Champions League tie caused much friction with former manager Rafael Benítez. On 30 March 2010, they had their second child, a girl named Ane Alonso Aranburu. Their third child and second daughter, Emma Alonso Aranburu, was born on 2 December 2013.
Alonso and Arsenal player Mikel Arteta were neighbours on the same street while growing up in San Sebastián and also lived near each other in Liverpool. Alonso convinced Arteta to transfer to Everton after he told him how happy he was living in Liverpool. Alonso also helped persuade former Real Sociedad teammate Juan Ugarte to make a move to Wales by joining Wrexham in 2004.
His brother, Mikel Alonso, plays for Spanish team Real Unión. He previously spent a season on loan at Bolton Wanderers in the 2007–08 season with an option for a permanent deal. However, the team opted not to extend the loan deal and he returned to Spain to train with Xabi Alonso's former club, Real Sociedad. Alonso also has another brother involved in football, Jon, who works as a referee.
Alonso is a Meath Gaelic football supporter. His interest in the Irish sport stems from the age of 15 when he went to the Irish town of Kells, County Meath, and stayed with a family to learn English, where he played it in his spare time.
Even while playing at Real Madrid, Alonso has declared himself a Liverpool supporter and returns to watch games at Anfield when his schedule allows. He was quoted in The Times Online in 2011 as saying, "I am still a Liverpool fan and will be forever, absolutely" and that he will raise his Liverpool-born son as a Red supporter.
In 2009, Xabi Alonso criticised then-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown's economic policy, in particular the devalued pound sterling and the 50p tax rate, warning that it has weakened English football and could drive top players away from the UK.
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (June 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
- As of 26 August 2016
- As of 18 June 2014
- Scores and results list Spain's goal tally first.
- UEFA Champions League: 2004–05
- UEFA Super Cup: 2005
- FA Cup: 2005–06
- FA Community Shield: 2006
- Real Madrid
- UEFA Champions League: 2013–14
- La Liga: 2011–12
- Copa del Rey: 2010–11, 2013–14
- Supercopa de España: 2012
- Bayern Munich
- Spanish Player of the Year: 2003
- Premier League Goal of the Month: November 2004
- FIFA FIFPro World XI: 2011, 2012
- La Liga Best Midfielder: 2012
- UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament: 2012
- UEFA Champions League Team of the Season: 2013–14
- "FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010: List of Players" (PDF). Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). 4 June 2010. p. 29. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
- "Alonso". realmadrid.com. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
- Ballague, Guillem (22 May 2005). "Clever Xabi sets the pass mark". The Observer. Retrieved 11 August 2008.
- Fifield, Dominic (25 March 2006). "Arteta seeks revenge in battle of Basques". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 August 2008.
- Balague, Guillem (18 May 2008). "Dads and Lads: Periko and Xabi Alonso". Liverpool. Archived from the original on 1 July 2008. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
- "Royal help for Alonso". eleven-a-side.com. Lynn Group. 25 May 2005. Retrieved 17 May 2009.[dead link]
- "Reprint of aforementioned article on messageboard". GAA Board. 3 January 2008. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Scully, Michael (25 May 2005). "Alonso learned a few tricks in Kells, Co Meath.". Daily Mirror. The Free Library. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Hunter, Andy (19 November 2005). "Mikel Arteta: 'It's a long way from San Sebastian...'". The Independent. Retrieved 11 August 2008.
- "Xabi Alonso Profile". Liverpool. Archived from the original on 4 August 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2008.
- Andrados, Juan Pedro (10 November 2001). "Primera División 2000/01". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Archived from the original on 17 January 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
- Abbandonato, Paul (3 July 2008). "It's the Real deal for Toshack". Wales Online (Western Mail). Retrieved 12 August 2008.
- Lowe, Sid (4 November 2002). "Sociedad enjoy ride of their lives". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 August 2008.
- "Real seal Spanish title". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 22 June 2003. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- Hughes, Rob (2 October 2003). "Champions League Soccer : Juventus and Real Sociedad show mettle". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- Diaz, Emilio Pla (28 January 2004). "Spain – Footballer of the Year". RSSSF. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
- Sinnott, John (21 August 2004). "Alonso the pass master". BBC Sport. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
- "Xabi Alonso Profile". Football Database. Archived from the original on 15 December 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
- "Real Sociedad drop Alonso". BBC Sport. 11 August 2004. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
- "Alonso makes Anfield move". BBC Sport. 20 August 2004. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
- Ortego, Enrique (3 November 2008). "La 'Rafalution' entra en la historia del Liverpool (The 'Rafalution' becomes part of Liverpool history)". Diario AS. Retrieved 18 November 2008.
- "Liverpool grab Garcia". BBC Sport. 20 August 2004. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
- "Bolton 1–0 Liverpool". BBC Sport. 29 August 2004. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
- Cox, Gerry (17 October 2004). "Alonso inspires a change of fortune". The Observer. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
- "Fulham 2–4 Liverpool". BBC Sport. 16 October 2004. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
- "Liverpool 2–1 Arsenal". BBC Sport. 28 November 2004. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
- Xabi Alonso (3 December 2004). Alonso happy to be at Anfield (Windows Media Player/Real Video) (Video). BBC Sport. Event occurs at 0.05mins/2.00mins. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
I think I'm settling quickly no? You know you come to a different country with a different culture but you have to accept all this"/"It was exciting to score at Anfield. I was looking for it and I felt great when I did, in a big game as well
- "Liverpool 0–1 Chelsea". BBC Sport. 1 January 2005. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
- "Alonso sidelined for three months". BBC Sport. 5 January 2005. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
- "Juventus 0–0 Liverpool". BBC Sport. 13 April 2005. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
- McCarra, Kevin (14 April 2005). "Liverpool set up Chelsea clash". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
- McCarra, Kevin (28 April 2005). "Red resistance tips the balance". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
- Shaw, Phil (25 May 2005). "Alonso adds touch of the sublime to Anfield armada". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- "Alonso tells of Reds heartbreak". BBC Sport. 28 April 2005. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- Winter, Henry (4 May 2005). "Glorious Liverpool a big noise again". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
- Keogh, Frank (25 May 2005). "Why it was the greatest cup final". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- McCarra, Kevin (26 May 2005). "Grit, spirit and the ultimate glory". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- "AC Milan 3–3 Liverpool (aet)". BBC Sport. 25 May 2005. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- Fifield, Dominic (26 May 2005). "Gerrard inspires Liverpool by sheer willpower". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- "Benítez's brave change of tack leaves Milan in reverse gear". The Guardian. 26 May 2005. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- "Benítez demands trophy defence for Reds". The Guardian. 26 May 2005. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- "Benítez stunned by epic comeback". BBC Sport. 26 May 2006. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
- "Crouch defends Liverpool tactics". BBC Sport. 19 September 2005. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
- Bradbury, Jamie (7 January 2006). "Reds edge classic". The FA. Archived from the original on 23 November 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
- McCarra, Kevin (9 January 2006). "Echoes of another epic as Liverpool forced to treat Luton like Milan". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
- "Fan makes £25,000 on dream goal". BBC Sport. 10 January 2006. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
- "Portsmouth 1–3 Liverpool". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 8 May 2006. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
- "Liverpool 3–3 West Ham (aet)". BBC Sport. 13 May 2006. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
- Hughes, Ian (20 September 2006). "Liverpool 2–0 Newcastle". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
- Hunter, Andy (21 September 2006). "Liverpool 2 Newcastle United 0: Alonso hits 70-yard wonder goal to thrill Reds". The Independent. Retrieved 11 November 2008.
- Winrow, Ian (22 September 2006). "Alonso denies his long shots are a gamble". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- "Newcastle goal my best". The Daily Star. 22 September 2006. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- "Alonso commits to five more years at Liverpool". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. 8 June 2007. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- Jackson, Jamie (2 September 2007). "Benítez has Liverpool dreaming of a new tilt at the title". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
- Atkin, Ronald (2 September 2007). "Liverpool 6 Derby County 0: Torres and Alonso lead Rams to the slaughter". The Independent. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- "Bad breaks put Xabi Alonso and Daniel Agger out for six weeks". Liverpool Daily Post. 20 September 2007. Archived from the original on 6 August 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
- "Xabi Alonso speaks of his Liverpool injury hell". Liverpool Daily Post. 19 December 2007. Archived from the original on 6 August 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
- Barrett, Tony (18 December 2007). "Steven Gerrard out of cup clash as Xabi Alonso returns". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
- Winter, Henry (12 March 2008). "Torres ensures Liverpool place in Fab Four". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
- McNulty, Phil (14 August 2008). "Liverpool may fall short in title tilt". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
- "Rafa Benítez: "Xabi Alonso es un jugador de clase superior" (Xabi Alonso is a top class player)" (in Spanish). Marca. 27 October 2007. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
- Hassall, Paul (12 January 2008). "Xabi's sweeper dream". Liverpool. Archived from the original on 30 April 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2008.
- "Liverpool still want Gareth Barry". Liverpool Daily Post. 29 July 2008. Archived from the original on 6 August 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
- Barrett, Chris (16 July 2008). "Juventus end pursuit of Alonso". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
- "Alonso admits summer sorrow". Sky Sports. 4 October 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
- Taylor, Daniel (4 October 2009). "The adopted son they couldn't drive away". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
- "Gerrard tribute to Xabi Alonso". Liverpool. 15 September 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- "Alonso Fires Reds Clear at the Top". Liverpool. 26 October 2008. Archived from the original on 30 October 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
- Rice, Jimmy (11 December 2008). "Xabi's 1,000 passes". Liverpool. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- Sanghera, Mandeep (25 April 2009). "Hull 1–3 Liverpool". BBC Sport. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- "Alonso completes £30m Real move". BBC Sport. 5 August 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- Pearce, James. "Liverpool's Xabi Alonso hands in transfer request". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
- Eaton, Paul. "Liverpool agree Alonso Deal". Liverpool. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- "Alonso completes £30m Real move". BBC Sport. 5 August 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2009.
- "Gerrard 'devastated' by Alonso exit". Soccernet. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
- "Real Madrid 6 – 2 Villarreal". ESPN. 21 February 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- "Xabi Alonso statistics". ESPN Soccernet. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
- "Spanish Primera División Table 2009-2010". ESPN Soccernet. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
- Ball, Phil (17 May 2010). "At the end of the day...". ESPN Soccernet. Archived from the original on 22 May 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
- "Seis azulgranas, en el once ideal de la Liga". Marca. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
- Alvarez, Eduardo (17 May 2010). "La Liga Team of the Season". ESPN Soccernet. Archived from the original on 20 May 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
- "Finalistas Premios LPF". LFP. Archived from the original on 3 June 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
- Torres, Diego (23 February 2010). "Capitán sin brazalete". El Pais. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
- Irish, Ollie. "Cristiano Ronaldo Takes Raul's No.7 Shirt at Real Madrid, Benzema Moves To No.9, Xabi Alonso Takes No.14". Whoateallthepies.tv. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- "Alonso signs two-year contract extension at Real Madrid despite Premier League interest". Daily Mail. 8 January 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
- "Xabi Alonso is suspended for Champions League final... and wants 'unfair' rules changed". Daily Mail. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
- "Bayern Munich 0 Real Madrid 4". BBC Sport. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
- "Xabi Alonso completes Bayern switch". fcbayern.de. FC Bayern Munich. 29 August 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- "Official announcement: Xabi Alonso". realmadrid.com. 29 August 2014.
- "Xabi Alonso: Bayern Munich sign Real Madrid player". BBC Sport. 29 August 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- Coleman, Tom (30 August 2014). "Schalke 1–1 Bayern Munich: Howedes seals controversial point for hosts". Goal.com. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
- Reilly, Garry (1 October 2014). "5 Incredible Stats That Show How Important Xabi Alonso Is For Bayern Munich". Balls.ie. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Bayern Mun 6–0 SV Werder Bremen". BBC Sport. 18 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- Reddy, Luke (17 February 2015). "Shakhtar Donetsk v Bayern Munich". BBC Sport. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
- Lovell, Mark (23 February 2015). "Bayern Munich awakening from winter-break hibernation". ESPN FC. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
- "FC Bayern düst ins Viertelfinale" (in German). Süddeutsche Zeitung. 11 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- "Bayern Munich 1-1 Borussia Dortmund". BBC. 29 April 2015.
- Schaerlaeckens, Leander (1 August 2015). "Nicklas Bendtner emerges as Wolfsburg's unlikely hero in DFL-Supercup". Yahoo. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- "Der FC Bayern verlängert mit vier Superstars" (in German). Die Welt. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
- Bulman, Erica (14 June 2006). "David Villa scores twice as Spain reigns over Ukraine 4–0". USA Today. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
- "Spain 1–3 France". BBC Sport. 26 July 2007. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
- Baskett, Simon (18 June 2008). "Second string Spain too good for Greece". Reuters. Retrieved 15 December 2008.
- Taylor, Daniel (19 June 2008). "Second-string Alonso displays class of Spanish squad". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 December 2008.
- "Xabi Alonso Player Profile Euro 2008". Sky Sports. Archived from the original on 2 April 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
- Balague, Guillem (30 June 2008). "Exclusive Interview: Xabi Alonso". Guillem Balague. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
- McLaughlin, Kim (20 August 2008). "UPDATE 1-Soccer-Alonso double helps Spain ease past Denmark". Reuters. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
- "FIFA player Statistics: XABI ALONSO". FIFA.
- Joyce, Paul. "Xabi Alonso in broken rib fear". the Daily and Sunday Express. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
- "Xabi Alonso fires Spain to Euro 2012 semifinals". 24 June 2012. Archived from the original on 25 June 2012.
- "Xabi Alonso: Real Madrid midfielder retires from Spain duty". BBC Sport. 27 August 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- "Euskadi-Ghana". Euskadiko Futbol Federakundea. 29 December 2001. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- "La Euskal Selekzioa arrolla a Bolivia". Euskadiko Futbol Federakundea. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- "Xabi Alonso: FC Bayern's indisputable Ballmagnet". bundesliga.com. 28 September 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- Honigstein, Raphael (22 October 2014). "Xabi Alonso provides the tempo that makes Bayern's jazz flow". ESPN FC. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- D'Alessio, Stefano (16 April 2012). "Campioni ai Raggi X: Xabi Alonso e l'arte del passaggio" (in Italian). calciomercato.it. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- Pedullà, Alfredo (17 November 2013). "Pirlo e Xabi Alonso: vietato fare confusione. Inter-Milan e la potenziale nuova mappa dei direttori, Sabatini in testa. Lodi, uno da Toro. Leonardi da applausi. La tessera del tifoso: qualcuno paghi" (in Italian). tuttomercatoweb.com. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- "Spagna, ci pensa Xabi Alonso Francia spenta ed eliminata" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 23 June 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- "Roma-Bayern Monaco, stasera" (in Italian). ilpost.it. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- "La Spagna gioca da sola contro la Francia e si merita la semifinale" (in Italian). Il Foglio. 24 June 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- Keeney, Tim (29 April 2014). "Xabi Alonso Slams UEFA Rule After Earning Suspension for Champions League Final". bleacherreport.com. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- Rice, Jimmy (3 December 2008). "Reina hails 'One of world's best'". Liverpool. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- "Xabi Alonso: "Fue un poco frustrante no jugar, pero tenía que estar con mi familia"" [Xabi Alonso: "It was a little frustrating to miss the match, but I had to be with my family"] (in Spanish). El Mundo. 13 March 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
- Wallace, Sam (11 March 2008). "Alonso left at home after Benítez tires of baby talk". The Independent. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
- Thomas, Phil (11 March 2008). "That's yer tot, Alonso". The Sun. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
- Martín, Luis (12 March 2008). "La paternidad de Xabi Alonso provoca un lío en Anfield" [Xabi Alonso's fatherhood whips up a storm at Anfield] (in Spanish). El Pais. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
- "Pitter Patter: Xabi And Nagore Alonso Welcome Baby Ane". Kickette. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- Higuera, Raoul (2 December 2013). "Xabi Alonso y Nagore Aranburu ya tienen la familia numerosa con el nacimiento de Emma" (in Spanish). Vanitatis. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- Ducker, James (25 March 2006). "Arteta puts friendship on hold as Everton eye Europe". London: The Times. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
- Prentice, David (26 September 2008). "Mikel Arteta and Xabi Alonso's special bond put on hold in Everton-Liverpool derby". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
- Rice, Jimmy (18 January 2007). "Xabi Alonso: The Big Interview". Liverpool. Archived from the original on 18 September 2007. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
- "Bolton clinch Alonso". Manchester Evening News. 16 July 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
- "Alonso joins Bolton from Sociedad". BBC Sport. 10 July 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
- Lorenzo, J. L. (3 September 2008). "El club presentará mañana el ERE con Alonso y Stevanovic" [The club will release Alonso and Stefanovic tomorrow under ERE legislation] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- Daswani, Manoj (28 January 2009). "El Tenerife elige a Mikel Alonso" (in Spanish). La Opinion de Tenerife. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- "Meath Kop big fan in Alonso". Sunday Mirror. 20 January 2008. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- "Alonso: My son's a Red". Liverpool. 4 April 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
- Nagle, Ben (6 October 2014). "Wayne Rooney is the first Premier League footballer to reach 10 million Twitter followers as Manchester United captain becomes site's fifth most popular athlete". Daily Mail. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
- "Xabi Alonso warns that tax will drive top players away". Telegraph. 20 June 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
- "Xabi Alonso" (in German). kicker.de. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
- "Xabi Alonso". Soccerway. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- "AC Milan 3 – 3 Liverpool". lfchistory.net. 25 May 2005. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- "Liverpool 3 – 1 CSKA Moscow". lfchistory.net. 26 August 2005. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- "Liverpool 3 – 3 West Ham United". lfchistory.net. 13 May 2006. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- "Liverpool 2 – 1 Chelsea". lfchistory.net. 13 August 2006. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- "Las campeones del mundo de fútbol ya tienen la Real Orden del Mérito Deportivo". mundodeportivo.com (in Spanish). 5 October 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Xabi Alonso.|
- Profile on Realmadrid.com
- BDFutbol profile
- National team data
- 2010 FIFA World Cup profile
- Xabi Alonso at National-Football-Teams.com
- Xabi Alonso – FIFA competition record
- Xabi Alonso – UEFA competition record
- Xabi Alonso career statistics at Soccerbase
- LFCHistory.net Profile
- Profile at BBC Sport
- Xabi Alonso at ESPN FC