Xabi Alonso is a retired Spanish footballer who played as a midfielder. He is considered one of the best deep-lying playmakers and holding midfielders of his generation.
Alonso had a decorated playing career, winning major trophies like the UEFA Champions League, UEFA European Championship, UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA World Cup. He played for top European clubs like Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
After retirement in 2017, Alonso transitioned into management and is currently the head coach of Bayer Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
- Full name: Xabier “Xabi” Alonso Olano
- Date of birth: 25 November 1981
- Place of birth: Tolosa, Spain
- Age: 42 years
- Height: 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Xabi Alonso was born in Tolosa, Spain to parents Periko Alonso and María Olano. His father Periko was a former footballer who played as a midfielder for FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad.
Alonso started playing organised football for local club Antiguoko while pursuing an education. He joined the youth academy of Real Sociedad at age 15 in 1997.
Breakthrough at Real Sociedad
Alonso made his first-team debut for Real Sociedad on 1 December 1999 in a Copa del Rey match. The next year, he made his La Liga debut on 22 October 2000 against Leganes.
Over the next two seasons, Alonso established himself as a regular starter in central midfield for Sociedad. He formed an excellent partnership with Norwegian striker John Carew.
Alonso’s intelligent passing, positional awareness and ability to control the tempo from midfield helped Sociedad finish second in the 2002-03 La Liga season. This qualified them for the UEFA Champions League.
Successful Spell at Liverpool
In August 2004, Premier League club Liverpool signed Alonso for £10.7 million. He was brought in by manager Rafael Benitez to replace the gap left by Steven Gerrard’s deeper positioning.
At Liverpool, Alonso made a huge impact in his very first season. He scored crucial goals, provided excellent long passes and dictated play from midfield. Liverpool won the 2004-05 UEFA Champions League final against AC Milan in dramatic fashion.
Over the next four seasons, Alonso cemented his spot as one of Europe’s best central midfielders. His composure and consistency set the tempo for Liverpool to play attacking football. Alonso formed part of a world-class midfield along with Gerrard and Mascherano.
Though Liverpool could not win the league title, they challenged regularly. Alonso contributed to FA Cup success in 2006 and was voted into the PFA Team of the Year twice.
Unparalleled Success at Real Madrid
In 2009, Spanish giants Real Madrid signed Alonso for around €30 million. This fulfilled his childhood dream of playing for Los Blancos.
Alonso stepped up to the task, becoming a vital cog in Madrid’s star-studded midfield. His vision, passing range, positional sense and ability to control games perfectly complemented the flashier talents alongside him.
Over five seasons at Real Madrid, Xabi Alonso won every major trophy – including the fabled La Decima Champions League title. This ended Real’s 12-year wait for their tenth European crown. He was instrumental to their success with his selfless anchoring midfield play.
Alonso also won the Copa del Rey, the Spanish Super Cup and other trophies during this glittering spell at Real Madrid. He set the tempo for stars like Ronaldo and formed an almost telepathic partnership with midfielder Luka Modric.
Final Flourish at Bayern Munich
In 2014, Alonso decided to take up a new challenge, transferring to German giants Bayern Munich in a €10 million deal. Over three seasons at Bayern, Alonso enjoyed further success.
Though then in his 30s, Alonso continued to dictate games with his intelligent play, exemplary passing and leadership. He proved crucial to Bayern’s Bundesliga title wins in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Alonso also helped Bayern reach the Champions League semi-finals every season. They won the German DFB-Pokal in 2016 and lifted four more trophies. Alonso remained a model of consistency and professionalism during his time in Germany.
- National team: Spain
- Caps: 114 (2003-2014)
- Goals: 16
- Major tournaments:
- 2010 FIFA World Cup Winner
- UEFA Euro 2008 Winner
- UEFA Euro 2012 Winner
Alonso also enjoyed great success with the Spanish national team from 2003 to 2014. He was an integral part of Spain’s golden generation that revolutionised world football with their tiki-taka brand of passing football.
Under manager Luis Aragones, Alonso was crucial to Spain’s UEFA Euro 2008 triumph – their first major trophy in 44 years. This started Spanish dominance as La Roja also won Euro 2012 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
With his passing range, ball retention and ability to dictate tempo, Alonso fitted Spain’s style perfectly. He clocked up 114 appearances and scored 16 goals for his country, partnering brilliantly with Sergio Busquets to anchor a world-class midfield trio.
Alonso retired from international duty after Spain’s disappointing group-stage exit in the 2014 World Cup. He bade farewell as one of Spain’s greatest ever midfielders.
Playing Style and Characteristics
As a player, Xabi Alonso was highly distinguished for:
- Passing range – Alonso could deliver inch-perfect long balls and diagonal passes to launch attacks. He had exemplary vision and ball-playing technique.
- Reading of the game – With excellent positional sense, Alonso made interceptions look easy and kept attacks fluid with his movement.
- Composure – He was always a picture of poise, comfortable whether pressed fiercely or afforded time and space to pick passes.
- Tempo control – Alonso dictated the ebb and flow of games with clever changes of rhythm and playmaking from deep midfield.
- Tackling – He was rugged in challenge when required, able to crunch into tackles and win back possession.
- Leadership – As one of the most intelligent players, Alonso organised and communicated well with teammates as an on-field leader.
These traits made him the consummate deep-lying playmaker or holding midfielder, capable of anchoring the midfield and setting the offensive tempo. Alonso’s controlled style and cerebral play complemented the more explosive game of his superstar teammates.
Retirement and Coaching Career
Xabi Alonso announced his decision to retire from professional football at the end of the 2016-17 season, aged 35. He played his final match for Bayern Munich on 20 May 2017, fittingly setting up the opening goal.
Alonso was lauded by teammates and opponents alike for enjoying such a stellar career spanning almost two decades at the highest level.
After retirement, Alonso quickly embarked on a coaching education. His first role was managing Real Madrid’s youth team – Real Madrid Juvenil A – to win the 2018-19 UEFA Youth League.
Impressing with his tactical acumen, Alonso was appointed manager of Real Sociedad’s B team Real Sociedad B in June 2019. He helped promote several youngsters to the first team.
In June 2022, Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen appointed Alonso as their new head coach. This marked his first senior managerial position at a major European club.
With his deep insight and experience under great managers like Benitez and Ancelotti, Xabi Alonso has all the tools to succeed long-term in management.
Xabi Alonso’s Net Worth and Endorsements
According to reports, Xabi Alonso has built up an estimated net worth of around $55 million through his playing career and investments.
As one of Europe’s top midfielders throughout the 2000s and 2010s, Alonso earned lucrative wages and contracts. In his prime playing years at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, Alonso was one of football’s highest paid players – earning close to $10 million yearly.
Additionally, the Spaniard also had a few endorsement deals with brands like Adidas which supplemented his income. The Adidas Xabi 2 model football boots were launched bearing his name.
Alonso has made some smart investments and business deals post-retirement to grow his personal wealth. He owns a restaurant called Tatel Madrid and other hospitality venues across Spain.
As Alonso continues to establish himself in football management, his income stream could grow further. With no financial troubles post-retirement, he can fully focus on building his reputation as an elite football manager.s added to the article:
In conclusion, Xabi Alonso enjoyed an illustrious career as one of the finest midfield talents of his generation. His intelligence, technical brilliance and leadership shone through whether playing for Spain or European giants like Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Alonso won every major trophy possible at club and country level during his 17 year playing career. Even towards retirement age, he continued to dictate elite football matches with his cerebral passing and movement.
The Spaniard amassed a net worth of $55 million from lucrative contracts, wages and endorsements as a global football superstar. Though now retired since 2017, Alonso has already embarked on a promising coaching career and has all the credentials to succeed there too.
With his pedigree and deep insight into tactics, this mild-mannered midfield maestro now in his 40s could go down as a legendary manager too. Wherever Xabi Alonso sets his sights in the future, his excellent reading of the game will surely help him continue achieving success.
What teams did Xabi Alonso play for?
Xabi Alonso played for Real Sociedad, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich during his illustrious club career spanning 17 years.
How many trophies did Xabi Alonso win?
Alonso won a total of 17 major trophies during his career, including the Champions League twice, Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga titles and the FIFA World Cup, Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 with Spain.
Why was Xabi Alonso so highly rated?
Alonso was regarded among the best midfielders of his generation due to his excellent passing range, ball retention, reading of the game, leadership and ability to control the tempo from a deep position.
What is Xabi Alonso’s current role?
After retiring in 2017, Xabi Alonso transitioned into coaching. He is currently the manager of German club Bayer Leverkusen.
How much is Xabi Alonso worth?
According to reports, the net worth of Xabi Alonso is estimated to be around $55 million. His wealth has come through football contracts and post-retirement business investments.