COME HOME MOGGI
- Apr 12, 2009
Xabier "Xabi" Alonso Olano (Basque pronunciation: [ˈʃabi aˈlons̺o]; born 25 November 1981) is a Spanish World Cup-winning footballer who plays for Real Madrid as a midfielder.
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 and 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, scoring the equalising goal in a final in which his team had been 3-0 down at half-time. The following season he won the FA Cup, and subsequently also the FA Community Shield. He moved to Real Madrid for the start of the 2009–10 season, in a deal worth around £30 million, thus making him the fourth most expensive midfielder. Internationally, Alonso has represented Spain in the Euro 2004, Euro 2008 tournaments and in the 2006 World Cup and 2010 World Cup. He made his international debut in April 2003 in a 4–0 victory against Ecuador. He won the Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup with Spain.
He holds the record for the longest-range goal ever scored in open play in the Premier League, being some 61 yards away from Steve Harper's line when he netted against Newcastle United in 2006. The season before, he scored from 78 yards with an effort against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road in the FA Cup.
Alonso made his debut for the Basque Country official football team in a friendly against Ghana on 29 December 2001 and receives regular call ups since, while - due to his busy club schedule - not always being able to appear.
Alonso was regarded as a quiet and friendly person by his former teammates at Liverpool. He is married to Nagore Aranburu and the couple had their first child on 11 March 2008; a boy named Jontxu Alonso Aranburu. 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." However, this caused much friction with manager Rafa Benítez as this meant he could not pick him for the important Champions League tie against Inter Milan, and the two were at odds over Alonso's decision. On 30 March 2010 they had their second child; a girl named Ane Alonso Aranburu .
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 team mate Juan Ugarte to make a move to Wales by joining Wrexham in 2004.
His brother, Mikel Alonso plays for English team Charlton Athletic, having 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 on a school exchange programme 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.