Xabi Alonso will be remembered for his sheer excellence in spells at Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, and it is almost impossible not to like ‘the pass master’.
Starting out playing junior football alongside Mikel Arteta, Alonso was made captain at Real Sociedad aged just 20, and his career would only get better from there.
He moved to Liverpool in 2004, immediately writing his name into the folklore at Anfield with a goal on *that* night in Istanbul at the end of his first season at the club.
Known for his exceptional talent on the ball, Alonso sits up there with Andrea Pirlo and Bastian Schweinsteiger as one of the best holding midfielders of his generation.
Two goals from his own half and five years after joining, Rafa Benitez broke Liverpool fans’ (and players’) hearts when he sold the midfielder to Real Madrid.
‘La Barba Roja’ (The Red Beard) went on to lift the Champions League again before joining Bayern five years later and winning the Bundesliga in every season he played at the club in 2014 before retiring last summer.
Managers, team-mates, opponents and even goalkeepers he embarrassed all spoke so glowingly of the incredibly talented Spaniard, whose ability and brilliance you can’t help but look back on with pure joy.
Plus a beautiful World Cup moment.
A massive pat on the back if you get all of these.
Juventus certainly like a good free transfer.
If Lewy leaves Bayern, someone’s in for a treat.
North Korea’s genius ploy unfortunately backfired.
Plus Fernandinho sticks up for Raheem Sterling.
Of course he meant it. He meant everything.
Only eight have lasted longer than five years.
We’re getting a bit bored of this now…
Xherdan Shaqiri always tries elasticos. He’s fun.