Xabi Alonso announces retirement plans
Xabi Alonso has announced he will retire from football at the end of the season.
Alonso, 35, made the announcement on Thursday morning, two days after being a member of the Bayern Munich squad which dismantled Arsenal 10-2 on aggregate in their round of 16 Champions League tie.
He gained notoriety in England in 2004 when he joined Liverpool for £10m as Rafa Benitez took the Spaniard to the Premier League with him from La Liga, leaving for Real Madrid for £30m in 2009.
Alonso’s glittering career boasts an honours list of two Champions League titles, a World Cup, two European Championships, La Liga and Bundesliga titles, as well as an FA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, Copa del Rey (2) and a DFB-Pokal. He also accumulated 114 caps for Spain, scoring 16 goals.
This season could still see the cultured midfielder add further Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League winners medals to his collection.
He is the second high-profile member of the Munich squad to announce he will be hanging his boots up at the end of the current season after Bayern stalwart Philip Lahm confirmed this would be his final campaign in professional football.
Even at the age of 35 Alonso has performed at the highest level and will be remembered as one of the most revered midfielders of his generation.
On the decision to retire, Alonso said: "It wasn't an easy decision to make, but I believe it's the right time.
"I always thought it would be better to quit sooner rather than later. I still feel good, but I believe this is the right moment.
"I wanted to end my career still at the highest level, and Bayern is the highest level. I'm incredibly proud and happy to play for FC Bayern and to be a part of this family."