Xabier Alonso Olano, commonly known as Xabi Alonso, is a Spain international football player who currently features for the Spanish and European giants Real Madrid. He is a defence-minded central midfielder often deployed as a deep-lying playmaker.
Alonso is a Basque and was born into a famous footballing family. His father Periko Alonso won the Spanish first division title twice with Real Sociedad in the early 1980s and then won the title with Barcelona in 1985.
Alonso developed at Real Sociedad’s youth academy and made his debut for the senior side in 1999. He failed to break into the first team for a the first few years but came to the fore in the 2002-03 season in which he was arguably the best player for Sociedad, who finished second in the league behind Real Madrid that season.
Alonso was signed by Liverpool in the summer of 2004 and quickly settled into the side. His intelligent ball distribution, hard tackles and a gifted propensity to attack made him a readymade favourite of the Liverpool Kop. Alonso won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool in 2005 and the FA Cup in 2006. He was the first choice defensive central midfielder for Liverpool until the arrival of Javier Mascherano in 2007.
In the summer of 2009 Real Madrid sign Alonso from Liverpool and made him one of their Galacticos signing. Despite his good performances for the Blancos, Alonso failed to win any trophy in 2009-10, but he won the Copa del Rey in 2010-11. Then in 2011-12 he was instrumental in helping Los Blancos win La Liga.
Alonso made his international debut for Spain in April 2003 against Ecuador and has played over 100 matches for his country. He played at the 2006 Germany World Cup and won the Euro 2008 with Spain. Alonso won the 2010 World Cup finals and Euro 2012 as well with Spain.