Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Xabi Alonso

Xabier "Xabi" Alonso Olano

Xabier "Xabi" Alonso Olano (Basque pronunciation: [ˈʃabi aˈlons̺o]; born 25 November 1981 in Tolosa, Gipuzkoa) is a Spanish World Cup-winning footballer who currently plays for Real Madrid C.F..

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.

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