|Current Team:||Real Sociedad B|
|Birth Day:||November 25, 1981|
|Birth Place:||Tolosa, Spain|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
He began his professional career playing for Real Sociedad in 1999.
Alonso quickly progressed through the youth ranks and the reserve team at Real Sociedad (winning the regionalised fourth tier in his single season with the latter) and impressed enough to earn a first team debut at the age of 18. He made his first senior appearance against 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 him to Segunda División team 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 its 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 the 20-year-old 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.
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.
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 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 manager Rafael Benítez.
Alonso arrived at Liverpool along with Luis García from Barcelona, marking the beginning of a new era at Anfield. New Liverpool manager 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 and former 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.
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 entire 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.
Alonso was named in the Spanish squad for the 2006 FIFA 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.
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. The bright beginning was short-lived, however, 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:
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.
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 50% tax rate, warning that it has weakened English football and could drive top players away from the UK.
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 its La Liga 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").
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 began 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 Stadium. 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 XI and ultimately claimed the first league title of his career.
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.
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 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. Spain went on to beat Gianluigi Buffon and Italy 4–0 in the finals; this was Alonso's third major title win with Spain.
A complete, consistent, hardworking and versatile midfielder, Alonso is regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation, and was effective both creatively and defensively. Gifted with good technique, excellent vision, and varied passing range, he excelled in the centre in a deep-lying playmaking role, where he utilized his accurate long passing ability to create goal scoring chances for teammates; he also utilized a powerful and accurate shot from distance, and he was an effective set-piece and penalty kick taker. Due to his height, positioning, and physical characteristics, Xabi Alonso was also effective in the air, often contributing with headed goals from set pieces when he advanced into more offensive positions. In addition to his creative attributes, he was 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 was at times criticised, however, for occasionally committing rash challenges and for his tendency to lose his composure and pick up unnecessary cards for particularly hard fouls. Regarding Alonso's playing style, Jonathan Wilson noted in a 2013 article for The Guardian that he was an example of a more creative interpreter of the holding midfield role, who, "although capable of making tackles, focused on keeping the ball moving, occasionally raking long passes out to the flanks to change the angle of attack like an old-style regista." Since retiring, Steven Gerrard has claimed that he believes Alonso was the best midfielder he has ever played alongside. Moreover, in 2017, Pep Guardiola described Alonso as one of the best midfielders he had ever seen in his life.
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 Champions League semi-final to qualify for the 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.
Spain were again amongst the favourites for cup victory in the 2014 FIFA 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.
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 the club lost the shootout at the end of the 2015 DFL-Supercup away to VfL 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. On 9 March 2017, Alonso confirmed via Twitter his retirement from the game at the end of the 2016–17 season.
On 20 May 2017, Alonso and teammate, Bayern captain Philipp Lahm played their final professional game, in a 4–1 victory at home to Freiburg in which he assisted the opening goal for Arjen Robben. He was substituted off in the 82nd minute for Franck Ribéry. It was his 79th match in the German top-flight.
In 2018, whilst completing his UEFA Elite coaching course alongside former teammates Raúl, Xavi, Víctor Valdés and Joan Capdevila, Alonso returned to Real Madrid where he assumed a role coaching the Real Madrid U14s.
Alonso was appointed manager of Segunda División B club Real Sociedad B on 1 June 2019, and began the role on 9 July 2019.
Xabi and Nagore Aramburu were married in 2009. They have three kids, Jontxu, Ane, and Emma.
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