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Xabi Alonso Olano

Xabier "Xabi" Alonso Olano (born 25 November 1981 in Tolosa, Spain, Basque Country (autonomous community), Spain) is a Spanish Association football who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid C.F. and the Spain national football team. Xabi Alonso Olano is a Midfielder Defensive Midfielder, often playing as a Midfielder Deep-lying playmaker. Xabi Alonso Olano is known for Xabi Alonso Olano vision, and Xabi Alonso Olano ability to read the game and deliver long-distance passes.

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Xabi Alonso Olano biography


Xabier "Xabi" Alonso Olano (born 25 November 1981 in Tolosa, Spain, Basque Country (autonomous community), Spain) is a Spanish Association football who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid C.F. and the Spain national football team. Xabi Alonso Olano is a Midfielder Defensive Midfielder, often playing as a Midfielder Deep-lying playmaker. Xabi Alonso Olano is known for Xabi Alonso Olano vision, and Xabi Alonso Olano ability to read the game and deliver long-distance passes.

Alonso began Xabi Alonso Olano career at Real Sociedad, and after a brief loan period at SD Eibar returned to the La Liga club. John Toshack appointed Alonso as Xabi Alonso Olano captain (football) and Alonso succeeded in the role, taking Real Socieded to second place in the La Liga 2002-03. The Spaniard moved to Liverpool F.C. in August 2004 for Pound sterling10.5 million. Xabi Alonso Olano won the UEFA Champions League in Xabi Alonso Olano first season at the club. The following season Xabi Alonso Olano won the FA Cup, and subsequently also the FA Community Shield. Xabi Alonso Olano moved to Real Madrid for the start of the La Liga 2009–10, in a deal worth around £30 million.

Internationally, Alonso has represented Spain in the UEFA Euro 2004, UEFA Euro 2008 tournaments and the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Xabi Alonso Olano made Xabi Alonso Olano international debut in April 2003 in a 4–0 victory against Ecuador national football team. Xabi Alonso Olano won the Euro 2008 tournament with Spain.

Xabi Alonso Olano holds the record for the longest-range goal ever scored in open play in the Barclays Premier League, being some 61 yards away from Steve Harper's line when Xabi Alonso Olano netted against Newcastle United in 2006. The season before, Xabi Alonso Olano scored from 78 yards with an equally spectacular effort against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road in the FA Cup.

Biography

Early life

Alonso was born into a family known for its footballing prowess. Xabi Alonso Olano father, Miguel Ángel Alonso won the La Liga twice in successive seasons with Real Sociedad and a third time after Xabi Alonso Olano moved to FC Barcelona. Xabi Alonso Olano also featured in the national team, winning 20 caps over the course of Xabi Alonso Olano career. On the Basque sands Alonso befriended a fellow resident of Calle Matia, Mikel Arteta, and the two would battle each other in exhibitions of technical ability. Xabi Alonso Olano was immersed in football and Xabi Alonso Olano father would often bring Xabi Alonso Olano and Xabi Alonso Olano older brother, Mikel Alonso, to CE Sabadell FC's training ground to practise together. Alonso was influenced by Xabi Alonso Olano father's playing, taking more pleasure in passing the ball well than shooting at goal. At an early age Xabi Alonso Olano decided to play as a defensive midfielder: a role which helped Xabi Alonso Olano learn how to distribute the ball well. This talent would later prove to be an integral part of Xabi Alonso Olano club and international career. while there, Xabi Alonso Olano became exposed to the game of Gaelic football, and Xabi Alonso Olano would play with some of the local children. Xabi Alonso Olano still retains a soft spot for the Meath GAA side.

Alonso and Arteta were ambitious and dreamed of playing alongside each other for Real Sociedad when they were older. Though they attended different schools, the two young players joined forces at the local youth side Antiguoko, playing games at the weekend. Their performances attracted the attention of scouts from top Spanish sides and the young Donostiarras separated ways, ending nine years of friendly rivalry, as Alonso went to feeder club Real Sociedad and Arteta moved to Catalonia giants Barcelona. However, Alonso's move to Real Sociedad was not a companionless one as Xabi Alonso Olano was joined by Xabi Alonso Olano older brother Mikel Alonso who had also become an adept player. Alonso failed to make another appearance in the season but the following year brought more opportunities. At the beginning of the La Liga 2000-01, Javier Clemente sent Alonso to Segunda División team SD Eibar to gain experience. Alonso's father particularly felt the move to the smaller club improved Xabi Alonso Olano as a player. Toshack lauded Alonso, noting that the impression Xabi Alonso Olano had on the team was exceptional, especially for a player from the youth-team. The team cemented their mid-table position in the La Liga 2001-02, finishing in 13th place. Alonso appeared consistently in La Liga with 30 appearances over the course of the season and also scored Xabi Alonso Olano first league goal, finishing with a season total of 3. Real Sociedad's management changed again in the summer of 2002 with the arrival of Raynald Denoueix but Alonso kept Xabi Alonso Olano place in the first team on the strength of Xabi Alonso Olano past performance.

The La Liga 2002-03 was the club's best league performance since the La Liga 1981-82 in which they won the league. The Basque team finished second, two points behind Real Madrid, setting a club record for their highest ever points total and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for the first time. Alonso received much praise for Xabi Alonso Olano role in the team's success and was given the Best Spanish Player award by Spanish sports magazine Don Balón. In addition, Alonso significantly contributed to the team's goal tally, scoring 12 goals in all competitions. Xabi Alonso Olano performances earned Alonso national repute and Iñaki Sáez, the coach (sport) of the Spanish national team, called Xabi Alonso Olano up for La Selección. Alonso made Xabi Alonso Olano international debut in April 2003 in a 4–0 exhibition game win over National football team of Ecuador. Sáez raved over Alonso saying: "Xabi Alonso Olano has a fantastic range of accurate passing and sees football with an extraordinary clarity". Arteta was ecstatic at the prospect of partnering Alonso in midfield but Xabi Alonso Olano excitement was short lived. Alonso did not lament the fact that a move to Real Madrid had not materialised. Instead Xabi Alonso Olano concentrated on integrating with the new Spanish contingent at Liverpool under the guidance of, ex-Valencia CF coach, Rafael Benítez. The technical Spaniards were Benítez's first signings and Xabi Alonso Olano remarked that their emphasis of skill over strength offered something different to the team. Alonso made Xabi Alonso Olano FA Premier League debut for the Merseysiders against Bolton Wanderers F.C. at The Reebok Stadium on 29 August 2004. A FA Premier League 2003-04 tie against Fulham F.C. displayed more of Alonso's talents. Liverpool were losing 2–0 at half-time and Benítez brought on Alonso as a substitute (football) after the break. Xabi Alonso Olano arrival revived a deflated Liverpool and the game finished 4–2 to the Merseyside team. Furthermore, Alonso scored from a Direct free kick to bring Liverpool ahead of the opposition — Xabi Alonso Olano first Goal (sport) for the team.

Alonso continued to provide important goals for the club, scoring Xabi Alonso Olano first goal at Anfield against Arsenal F.C. in a 2–1 victory. Alonso was elated at the achievement and felt Xabi Alonso Olano was settling in well in England. The Arsenal game marked the return of Steven Gerrard from injury but Alonso's midfield partnership with the captain (football) came to a halt when Alonso suffered Xabi Alonso Olano first setback at Liverpool. Alonso's ankle was broken following a tackle from Frank Lampard in Liverpool's 1-0 defeat against Chelsea F.C. on New Year's Day 2005 and the Spaniard was ruled out of action for three months.

Xabi Alonso Olano made Xabi Alonso Olano return to the first team in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter final against Juventus F.C.. Alonso was not at full fitness but, as Steven Gerrard was injured, Xabi Alonso Olano played for the full 90 minutes and Liverpool held the score at 0–0 in Italy, defeating the eventual Italian Champions on aggregate. Kevin McCarra of The Guardian paid testament to Alonso's skill and dedication to the game, saying: "This marvellously accomplished footballer testified in the Stadio delle Alpi that technique can overcome a serious physical disadvantage". In the next round against Chelsea, Alonso received a Penalty card Yellow card in a tense and scrappy 0–0 draw at Stamford Bridge (stadium), making Xabi Alonso Olano suspended for the following fixture. Alonso was distraught that Xabi Alonso Olano would miss the game and vehemently contested the referee's decision to no avail. Gerrard returned from injury for the second leg, however, and the captain steered Xabi Alonso Olano team to a 1–0 win with the help of a Luis García goal, qualifying for the final against A.C. Milan.

Liverpool's fifth place finish in the Premiership left much to be desired but debut season glory still awaited Alonso in the form of the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final. The team fell three goals behind Milan but completed a dramatic second-half comeback. Liverpool, trailing 3–2, were awarded a penalty and it was decided that Alonso would take the spot kick. While Dida (goalkeeper), Milan's acclaimed Brazilian goalkeeper, managed to save the penalty Alonso fired the rebound into the roof of the net, bringing the score to 3–3. Extra time passed without a goal from either team and Liverpool won 3–2 in the penalty shootout. Alonso was praised for Xabi Alonso Olano pivotal influence on the team's comeback and manager Benítez reinforced Xabi Alonso Olano importance to the team. Alonso was ecstatic with the win, commenting: "This is the best moment in my professional career". This marked a very successful first year in England for Alonso and victory in the final of the biggest European club competition signified a bright future for the 23-year-old.

2005–06: FA Cup winner

Alonso was ever-present in the first team in the Premier League 2005-06, largely avoiding injuries that had marred Xabi Alonso Olano first season at the club. The summer transfer window brought Peter Crouch to Liverpool and the striker's height sparked accusations that the team would change to long ball (association football) tactics. Crouch denied this, highlighting that Alonso's passing ability, alongside Gerrard, would define Liverpool's style of play. Alonso faced more competition for Xabi Alonso Olano place in the form of new arrival Mohamed Sissoko. However, Steven Gerrard's injuries and Rafael Benítez's favouring of a 4-5-1 formation (soccer) ensured Alonso's place in the team. Alonso appeared in all of Liverpool's games in the UEFA Champions League 2005-06 but the dominance shown in the previous season had gone as the team lost to S.L. Benfica in the UEFA_Champions League 2005-06 Knockout stage.

On 7 January 2006, in an FA Cup third-round tie against Luton Town F.C., Alonso assisted Liverpool F.C. to a 5–3 comeback victory after being down 3–1 early in the second half. Alonso scored two impressive goals from distance: one from 35 yards, and the other 65 yards from goal; behind the Association football pitch. Alonso suffered an ankle injury in a 3–1 victory over Portsmouth F.C., putting Xabi Alonso Olano participation in the 2006 FA Cup Final in doubt. However, Xabi Alonso Olano recovered sufficiently to start the game against West Ham United and Gerrard scored Liverpool's third goal from Alonso's free kick, pulling the team ahead of the opposition. Alonso, still affected by the injury, could not manage the whole 90 minutes and was substituted in the second half. Liverpool won on penalties without Xabi Alonso Olano help but Alonso still earned Xabi Alonso Olano first FA Cup winners' medal.

Alonso was named in the Spanish squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup and Xabi Alonso Olano scored Spain's first goal of the tournament, Xabi Alonso Olano first international goal, against Ukraine on 14 June 2006. Despite a successful 2006 FIFA World Cup Group H, where Spain won all their games, Alonso did not achieve international glory as the team were beaten by the eventual finalists France national football team in the first 2006 FIFA World Cup knockout stage of the tournament.

2006–07 and 2007–08 seasons

On 20 September 2006 Alonso scored what the BBC described as "an outrageous strike" from Xabi Alonso Olano own half in a 2–0 Premiership win against Newcastle United F.C.. Andy Hunter of The Independent described it as "one of the most audacious goals in Anfield's rich 115-year history". Alonso rebutted claims that Xabi Alonso Olano 70 yard goal was all down to luck and stated that Xabi Alonso Olano took long range shots as part of Xabi Alonso Olano training routine. Despite the similarity of the goals struck from inside Xabi Alonso Olano own half, Alonso was in no doubt which was Xabi Alonso Olano best. Xabi Alonso Olano said, "I think this was better. The Luton goal bounced a few times, this one went quite straight. The Luton one was left-footed - it was different - but I am quite happy to score the goal." It was Xabi Alonso Olano first goal for Liverpool since the goal against Luton, making it two consecutive goals from inside Xabi Alonso Olano own half of the pitch. The 2007–08 season started well for the Spaniard: Gerrard's absence led to Alonso playing in a more advanced position and Xabi Alonso Olano scored twice in a 6–0 rout against Premier League newcomers Derby County. However, the bright beginning was short-lived as a minor injury sustained in a game against Portsmouth F.C. became aggravated in training. The metatarsal injury forced Xabi Alonso Olano out of training for six weeks but Xabi Alonso Olano return to the first team was rushed and Xabi Alonso Olano injury recurred in Xabi Alonso Olano first game back. Alonso's determination and passion proved to be Xabi Alonso Olano downfall and Xabi Alonso Olano later reflected: "I had been feeling a bit tired around that time because it was only my first game back and the match was very fast. But as a player you don't want to come off, particularly when the team is winning and I stayed on."

Alonso returned from injury at the end of 2007 but over the following months Xabi Alonso Olano increasingly faced competition for a place in midfield from Javier Mascherano and Lucas Leiva. Xabi Alonso Olano role in Liverpool's five man midfield role was assured, however, as Rafael Benítez regarded Xabi Alonso Olano as "a top class player", stating that Alonso had the ability to change games and break down the opposition's defence. Alonso made a landmark 100th league appearance for Liverpool on 12 January 2008 against Middlesbrough F.C..

Euro 2008 winner and 2008–09 season

Liverpool F.C. season 2007-08 finished trophyless but the opportunity to win honours awaited Alonso in the form of the Euro 2008 tournament. Alonso featured mainly as a substitute but, with key players resting, Xabi Alonso Olano captained Spain national football team in the final group game against Greece national football team, earning the man of the match award. Despite a strong performance, Xabi Alonso Olano could not attain a starting position in the team, highlighting Spain's strength in depth. Spain went on to win the tournament and Xabi Alonso Olano featured in four of Spain's six matches. Speaking to Guillem Balague, Xabi Alonso Olano said that Spain's victory was deserved and the players' teamwork had been crucial to the team's undefeated run in the tournament. The Basque was ecstatic at the achievement, declaring "Right now, we’re all just living the moment. It’s incredible and we’re all walking around in a dream. It’s fantastic". Alonso's international success continued as Xabi Alonso Olano scored twice in a 0–3 win in a friendly against Denmark in August.

The 2008 summer transfer window suggested a move away from Merseyside as Liverpool pursued England international Gareth Barry to replace Alonso. By the start of the 2008–09 season, neither Alonso or Barry had moved club but the drawn-out transfer saga had left the Spaniard feeling unsettled at Liverpool and unsure of Xabi Alonso Olano position in the team. However, the club's fans did much to restore Xabi Alonso Olano spirits, supporting Xabi Alonso Olano on and off the pitch, and Alonso responded to this, saying:

Despite the events of the summer, Alonso made a confident start to the season and both Xabi Alonso Olano peers and the press praised Xabi Alonso Olano strength of character, citing Xabi Alonso Olano influence as a factor in the team's strong opening to the season. Alonso's importance to the team was further underlined when Xabi Alonso Olano scored the only goal in a 1–0 victory against Chelsea, making Liverpool the first away team to win at Stamford Bridge (stadium) in over four years. Statistical analysis reflected Alonso's good form: on 11 December figures from Opta revealed that Xabi Alonso Olano was the first Premier League player to complete 1000 successful passes in the season. Xabi Alonso Olano last goal for Liverpool came in their match against Hull, scoring a volley after Xabi Alonso Olano own free kick hit the Hull City wall.

Real Madrid

Alonso handed in a transfer request in late July and completed a £30 million move to Real Madrid on 5 August, 2009. Xabi Alonso Olano was handed the number 22 jersey in Madrid and continues to play in a holding midfield position. It is believed that Alonso never wanted to leave Liverpool, with Xabi Alonso Olano contract existing until at least 2012, but differences with the Liverpool Manager Rafael Benitez during the start of 2008-09 season made Xabi Alonso Olano think otherwise. Benitez - telling Xabi Xabi Alonso Olano may need to sell Xabi Alonso Olano to allow more money for new players. Liverpool F.C captain Steven Gerrard has attributed the club's recent poor run of form to the untimely departure of Alonso, and revealed Xabi Alonso Olano was devastated upon hearing of Alonso's decision. However, Alonso is still a Liverpool fan and was sighted among the spectators of the Liverpool and Arsenal match.

Personal life

Alonso was regarded as a quiet and friendly person by Xabi Alonso Olano former teammates at Liverpool. Xabi Alonso Olano 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 F.C. Internazionale Milano but I have to be with my family at times like these." However, this caused much friction with manager Rafa Benítez as this meant Xabi Alonso Olano could not pick Xabi Alonso Olano for the important Champions League tie against the Milanese side and the two were at odds over Alonso's decision.

Alonso and Everton F.C. 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 Xabi Alonso Olano told Xabi Alonso Olano how happy Xabi Alonso Olano was living in Liverpool. Alonso also helped persuade former Real Sociedad team mate Juan Ugarte to make a move to Wales by joining Wrexham A.F.C. in 2004.

Xabi Alonso Olano brother, Mikel Alonso, spent a season on loan at Bolton Wanderers F.C. in the Premier League 2007–08 with an option for a permanent deal. However, the team opted not to extend the loan deal and Xabi Alonso Olano 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 (football).

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xabi_Alonso

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